Suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts in a population-based study of Chinese people: risk attributable to hopelessness, depression, and social factors

Yin Bun Cheung, C K Law, Brandford Chan, Ka Yuet Liu, Paul S F Yip
Journal of Affective Disorders 2006, 90 (2): 193-9

BACKGROUND: The population attributable fraction of hopelessness, depression and other risk factors for suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts in Asian population is unknown. Social support is often said to be a buffer against the effect of hopelessness and depression.

METHODS: Suicidal ideation, suicidal attempts as well as demographic and psychometric data were delineated in a random and representative population sample of 2,219 Chinese people in Hong Kong. The population attributable fraction was used to determine the contribution of hopelessness, depression and other risk factors to suicidal ideation and attempts.

RESULTS: Multivariate modelling shows that about 40% of suicidal ideation and attempts was attributable to depression and about 20% was attributable to hopelessness. Drug abuse and marital dissolution were also significant contributors to suicidality. The impact of hopelessness and depression was not affected by social support.

LIMITATIONS: Suicidality was self-reported.

CONCLUSIONS: Suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts were to a large extent attributable to depression and hopelessness, and, to a lesser extent, drug abuse and marital dissolution. Social support appeared to play little role as a buffer.

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