Associations between smoking and alcohol drinking and suicidal behavior in Korean adolescents: Korea Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance, 2006

Mi Ah Han, Ki Soon Kim, So Yeon Ryu, Myung Geun Kang, Jong Park
Preventive Medicine 2009, 49 (2): 248-52

OBJECTIVE: To assess any association between cigarette smoking and heavy drinking and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among boys and girls in a nationally representative sample of Korean adolescents.

METHOD: The analysis was performed using data from the 2006 Korea Youth Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance study, which included a representative sample of middle and high school students in Korea. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine whether smoking and drinking were associated with suicidal behavior among boys and girls, controlling for demographic characteristics, perceived stress, perceived sadness/hopelessness, and chronic disease.

RESULTS: Of the 70,486 study subjects, 23.3% (19.1% of boys and 27.9% of girls) reported suicidal ideation and 5.3% (4.6% of boys and 6.1% of girls) reported having attempted suicide during the previous 12 months. Cigarette smoking and heavy drinking were found to be significantly associated with suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts among boys and girls.

CONCLUSION: Smoking and heavy drinking among adolescents are important factors related to suicidal ideation and attempting suicide in boys and girls. Further research is needed to clarify any causal connection between cigarette smoking and heavy drinking and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

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