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JYMS : Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science

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Hey-Geum Kim 1 Article
The characteristics of elderly suicidal attempters in the emergency department in Korea: a retrospective study
Ji-Seon Jang, Wan-Seok Seo, Bon-Hoon Koo, Hey-Geum Kim, Seok-Ho Yun, So-Hey Jo, Dae-Seok Bai, Young-Gyo Kim, Eun-Jin Cheon
J Yeungnam Med Sci. 2024;41(1):30-38.   Published online December 29, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.12701/jyms.2023.01004
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AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary Material
Background
Although Korea ranks first in the suicide rate of elderly individuals, there is limited research on those who attempt suicide, with preventive measures largely based on population-based studies. We compared the demographic and clinical characteristics of elderly individuals who attempted suicide with those of younger adults who visited the emergency department after suicide attempts and identified the factors associated with lethality in the former group.
Methods
Individuals who visited the emergency department after a suicide attempt from April 1, 2017, to January 31, 2020, were included. Participants were classified into two groups according to age (elderly, ≥65 years; adult, 18–64 years). Among the 779 adult patients, 123 were elderly. We conducted a chi-square test to compare the demographic and clinical features between these groups and a logistic regression analysis to identify the risk factors for lethality in the elderly group.
Results
Most elderly participants were men, with no prior psychiatric history or suicide attempts, and had a higher prevalence of underlying medical conditions and attributed their attempts to physical illnesses. Being sober and planning suicide occurred more frequently in this group. In the elderly group, factors that increased the mortality rate were biological male sex (p<0.05), being accompanied by family members (p<0.05), and poisoning as a suicide method (p<0.01).
Conclusion
Suicide attempts in elderly individuals have different characteristics from those in younger adults and are associated with physical illness. Suicides in the former group are unpredictable, deliberate, and fatal. Therefore, tailored prevention and intervention strategies addressing the characteristics of those who are elderly and attempt suicide are required.

JYMS : Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science