Abstract: Changes in Suicide Rate of Older Adults According to Gender, Age, and Region in South Korea from 2010 to 2017 (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

Changes in Suicide Rate of Older Adults According to Gender, Age, and Region in South Korea from 2010 to 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2023
North Mountain, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Kyu-Hyoung Jeong, Ph.D, Assistant Professor, Semyung University, Jecheon, Korea, Republic of (South)
Seoyoon Jane Lee, MSW, Ph.D student, Yonsei University, Korea, Republic of (South)
Sunghwan Cho, MSW, Doctoral Student, Research Assistant, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Hyun-Jae Woo, Assembly Researcher (Health&Welfare Committee), Seoul Metropolitan Council, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Sunghee Kim, Ph.D Student, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
Background/Purpose: South Korea's suicide rates are the highest among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, making it one of the important societal issues in South Korea. There are gender gaps in terms of suicidal rates between males and females among older adults; the suicide rate of Korean older adults aged 65 and older was 78.9 in males and 24.7 in females per 100,000 in 2017. Also, we have discovered that older adults commit suicide at a significantly higher rate than other age groups (the number of deaths per 100,000 persons in 2019; 27.4 in 15 to 64-years-old, and 46.6 in those aged 65 years and older). These patterns are related to characteristics of geriatric suicide which includes complex aspects of the phenomenon. The purpose of this study is to examine changes in geriatric suicide rates that differed by gender, age, and regions during the period between 2010 and 2017.

Methods: Data and samples: The statistics on causes of death and resident registration central population (RRCP) provided by the National Statistical Office was used.

Measures: The suicide rate was calculated for every 100,000 people in each city, county, and district from 2010 to 2017 using the formula '(number of suicides/mid-year population) x 100,000’. We examined gender (male, female), age (young-old, old-old), and region (urban, rural) by conducting latent growth modeling using SPSS 25.0 and M-plus 8.0 programs to estimate changes in the overall older adult suicide rate and verify its relationship.

Results: Over a period of 8 years, the older adult suicide rate was 104.232 on average in 2010 and it decreased by approximately 10.317 every year, and the rate of decrease gradually slowed down. The initial value of the older adult suicide rate was found to be higher among males (B=-96.314, p<.001), the old-old group (B=57.946, p<.001), and those living in rural regions (B=10.932, p<.001). In the quadratic function change rate, only male (B=-.524, p<.05) and old-old (B=.501, p<.05) were statistically significant.

Conclusions and Implications: The quadratic function change model was shown to be the most appropriate for the changing pattern of the older adult suicide rate from 2010 to 2017. Over 8 years, the older adult suicide rate decreased over time, and the rate of decrease gradually slowed down. Gender was discovered to be a significant influencing factor on both the initial value and the change rate of the older adult suicide rate as a result of the conditional model analysis. This suggests that males commit suicide at a higher rate than females among the aging population, and the declining trend slows down over time. The older adult suicide rate was initially greater in the old-old, and the pace of decline was relatively rapid as time passed. This longitudinal study not only extends existing information about changes in suicidal rates in older adults but is also expected to provide valuable insights which address the relationship between suicidal factors and suicidal rates.