Rising youth suicide and the changing cultural context in South Korea
Park, B.C.B., Im, J.S., & Ratcliff, K.S.
Background: South Korean society faces a serious challenge in the increasing rates of youth suicidal behavior. There is a need both to gain a better understanding of the causes of this behavior and to develop strategies for responding to this critical public health issue. Aims: This article analyzes how psychological, sociopsychological, and subcultural factors influence suicidal proneness among Korean youth as well as makes suggestions for developing social policies that could reduce Korean youth suicidal behaviors. Method: Correlation and multivariate regression analyses on suicide proneness and depression were employed using a sample of 172 South Korean youths (aged 18–24) selected from the 2009 General Social Survey collected through face-to-face interviews. Results: Young people’s suicidal proneness is associated with depression, a tolerant attitude toward suicide, strained family relations, living in rural areas, being female, and being closely related to survivors of suicide or potential suicides. Conclusion: The findings from this study reveal the significance of social and cultural factors as influences on recent youth suicidal behavior in Korea. The analysis suggests that the underlying risk factors of suicidal behavior are embedded in the changing social and cultural context of Korean society. Thus, suicide prevention efforts should involve more than merely treating any underlying psychiatric disorders