Influence of Alcohol Behavior on Suicide Ideation and Suicide Attempts among Youths: Findings from the 2009 Korean Youth Risk Behavior Survey

Purpose: Suicide has become a wide problem in Korean society. This study seeks to examine the influence of early onset of drinking and drinking problems on suicide ideation and attempt among Korean adolescents.
Methods: The 5th Korean Youth Health Risk Behavior Survey 2009, a nationwide dataset collected by the Korean Center for Disease Control, was used for analyses. The data contained a total of 75,066 adolescents between ages of 14 and 19.  
Results: The prevalence of early drinking onset (before age 13) was 16.6% and the problem drinking (defined as 2 or more points in the CRAFFT) among current drinkers was 40%. Among Korean adolescents, 19.1% reported suicidal ideation and 4.6% had attempted suicide. Youths who had began drinking before the age of 13 had higher risk of both having suicidal ideation and attempting suicide (Odds ratio=1.37, 1.45, respectively). Likewise, those identified as problem drinkers had higher risk of having suicidal ideation and having had attempted suicide after controlling for the covariates such as age, grade, economic situation, and depressive mood. The risk differed between male and female students.
Conclusion: An analysis of a large national representative sample of Korean adolescents confirmed previous research regarding the relationship between problematic alcohol behaviors and suicide thoughts and attempts. Intervention and prevention efforts for youth suicide should integrate risk factors such as alcohol problems and depressive thoughts. Further implications are discussed.

Full paper download: 3.4.3 Sulki_Chung_et_al.pdf