JOURNAL ARTICLE

The relationship between parental marital status and suicidal ideation and attempts by gender in adolescents: results from a nationally representative Korean sample

Kounseok Lee, Kee Namkoong, Won-Jung Choi, Jin Young Park
Comprehensive Psychiatry 2014, 55 (5): 1093-9
24746529

OBJECTIVE: Suicide in adolescents is a major problem worldwide. The purpose of this study was to identify differences in suicidal behaviors with respect to parental marital status.

METHODS: The data used in this study were obtained from the Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey (KYRBWS) of middle and high school students in 2010. Using a national representative sample, this study analyzed data from 73,238 subjects. With respect to gender, the odds ratios of suicidal behavior were calculated based on the parental marital status, living situation, and family affluence scale (FAS).

RESULTS: After adjusting for age, achievement, sadness, and substance use, the prevalence of suicidal ideation in adolescents with a remarried parent significantly increased among boys to 1.364 [95% confidence interval (CI)=1.027-1.813] and among girls to 1.511 (95% CI=1.215-1.879). The odds ratio of suicide attempts increased to 1.808 (95% CI=1.119-2.923) for adolescent boys and to 1.947 (95% CI=1.609-2.356) for adolescent girls. However, having a single parent did not affect the prevalence of suicidal ideation in either gender. In girls, as family affluence decreased, the odds ratio of suicidal ideation notably increased. For girls whose families were in a low tier of the FAS, the odds ratio of both suicidal ideation and suicide attempts increased.

CONCLUSIONS: Both boys and girls were more likely to report suicidal ideation and attempts after a parent's remarriage, whereas family affluence was inversely related to suicidal ideation and attempts in girls.

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