A Study on the Variables Influencing Suicidal Ideation in Single Person Households: Targeting One Gu in Gwangju

1인 가구원의 자살생각에 영향을 미치는 관련 변인 연구: 광주지역 1개구를 대상으로

  • Received : 2015.09.16
  • Accepted : 2015.11.30
  • Published : 2015.12.31


This study aims to examine the general tendency of suicidal ideation in single person households and to analyse the differences and effects of related variables(sociodemographic variables, characteristics of single person households, happiness and depression) on suicidal ideation. For achieving these purposes, a survey was conducted using questionnaires, based on quota sampling that considers the distribution of population in each dong of one Gu in Gwangju. Finally, data of 686 single person households were used for analysis. The study findings were as follows. The average score of suicidal ideation in single person households was 6.47 points, it was somewhat higher as compared to prior research that was targeting general households. And the average score of happiness index was 4.17 points, depression was 33.11 points. The level of suicidal ideation in single person households was significantly different according to age, occupation, economic status, health status, period of single life, life satisfaction, and contact with family. In addition, the level of depression(${\beta}=.24$, p<.01) had the biggest effect on suicidal ideation in single person households and it was followed by happiness index(${\beta}=-.19$, p<.05) and family visit(${\beta}=-.15$, p<.05). The total explanatory power was 37%. These findings imply that it is important to find a high mental health risk group and treat it early, because there is a high possibility that single person households might have mental health problems by being isolated or alienated from society. In addition, diverse program and services designed to maintain familial bonds despite family members living separately are needed.


Single Person Households;Suicidal Ideation;Happiness Index;Depression


  1. An, H. J. (2013). A study on major determinants of the suicidal ideation among the elderly living alone. Unpublished master's thesis. Soongsil University, Seoul, Korea.
  2. Bae, J. Y. (2005). Structural equational modeling for elderly suicidal thoughts. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Daejeon University, Daejeon, Korea.
  3. Beck, A. T., Kovacs, M., & Weissman, A. (1979). Assessment suicidal intention: The scale for suicide ideation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 47(2), 343-352.
  4. Borges, G., Nock, M. K., Haro Abad, J. M., Hwang, I., Sampson, N. A., Alonso, J., Andrade, L. M., Angermeyer, M. C., Beautrais, A., Bromet, E., Bruffaerts, R., De Girolamo, G., Florescu, S., Gureje, O., Hu, C., Karam, E. G., Kovess-Masfety, V., Lee, S., Levinson, D., Medina-Mora, M. E., Ormel, J., Posada-Villa, J., Sagar, R., Tomov, T., Uda, H., Williams, D. R., & Kessler, R. C. (2010). Twelve-month prevalence of and risk factors for suicide attempts in the world health organization world mental health surveys. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 71(12), 1617-1628.
  5. Byun, M., Sin, S. Y., & Cho, K. J. (2009). Single person household and urban policy in Seoul. Seoul Development Institute.
  6. Carlson, G. A., & Cantwell, D. P. (1982). Suicidal behavior and depression in children and adolescents. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 21(4), 361-368.
  7. Cha, K. W. (2006). Economic structure of male one-person households. Journal of Korean Home Management Association, 21(1), 253-269.
  8. Cho, H. J., & Jeon, S. H. (2010). Seven structural characteristics of single household in Korea. Monthly Economic Review, Hyundai Research Institute.
  9. Cho, M. J., & Kim, K. H. (1993). Diagnostic validity of the CES-D(Korean version) in the assessment of DSM-III-R major depression. Journal of the Korean Neuropsychiatry Association, 32(3), 381-399.
  10. Diener, E. (1984). Subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 95, 542-575.
  11. Diener, E., & Seligman, M. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Reports, 13(3), 81-84.
  12. Diener, E., Suh, E. M., Lucas, R. E., & Smith, H. L. (1999). Subjective well-being: Three decades of progress. Psychological Bulletin, 125(2), 276-302.
  13. Donggu Mental Health Center. (2009). 2009 Annual report.
  14. Forkmann, T., Brahler, E., Gauggel, S., & Glaesmer, H. (2012). Prevalence of suicidal ideation and related risk factors in the German general population. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 200(5), 401-405.
  15. Fredrickson, B. L., Tugade, M. M., Wauugh, C. E., & Larkin, G. (2003). What good are positive emotions in crises? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 365-376.
  16. Hider, P. (1998). Youth suicide prevention by primary health care professionals: A critical appraisal of the literature. Christchurch, NZ: Department of Health Outcomes an Health Technology Assessment.
  17. Hur, J. S., & Yoo, S. H. (2002). Determinants of depression among elderly persons. Mental Health & Social Work, 13, 7-35.
  18. Jeong, G. H. (2014). The present and future of single person households. The 36st Annual Korean Academy of Family Social Work Conference, 23-65.
  19. Jo, K. H., & Kim, Y. K. (2008). Influencing factors on depression, suicidal thought, and life satisfaction of Korean elders. The Journal of Korean Academic Society of Nursing Education, 14(2), 176-187.
  20. Kim, H. S. (2002). A study on epistemology of Korean elder's suicidal thought. Journal of the Korea Gerontological Society, 22(1), 159-172.
  21. Kim, H. S. (2008). The structural relationships of stress, hopelessness, and depression to suicidal ideation in the elderly and the adolescents. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Dankook University, Seoul, Korea.
  22. Kim, H. Y. (2006). A study of factors influencing suicidal ideation of elders. Unpublished master's thesis. Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.
  23. Kim, J. Y., & Ko, Y. G. (2011). The moderating effect of happiness on the relation between mental disorders and suicidal behavior. The Korean Journal of Health Psychology, 16(4), 827-835.
  24. Kim, K. R. (2013). Influence of self-esteem, flow and depression of the psychiatric nurses upon their happiness. Unpublished master's thesis. Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.
  25. Kim, M. J. (2007). A study of socio-psychological determinants on elderly suicidal impulse. Unpublished master's thesis. Silla University, Pusan, Korea.
  26. Kim, S. I., & Jung, Y. C. (2001). The relationship between adolescents' depression tendency and their home environment. Studies on Korean Youth, 12(1), 5-27.
  27. Kim, Y. B. (2008). Correlates of depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation among Korean adults. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Cheju National University. Cheju, Korea.
  28. Kim, Y. J. (2009). Comparison of health habits, perceived stress, depression, and suicidal thinking by gender between elders living alone and those living with others. Journal of Korean Academy of Fundamentals of Nursing, 16(3), 333-344.
  29. Ko, J. U., & Kim, S. B. (2011). A study of influence factors on the suicidal tendency of elderly living alone. Korean Association of Health and Medical Sociology, 30, 29-48.
  30. Koo, C. Y. (2013). A study on factors influencing elders' suicidal ideation. Unpublished master's thesis. Pusan National University, Yangsan, Korea.
  31. Korea Institute for Health & Social Affairs. (2012). Policy implications of changes in family structure: Focused on the increase of single person households in Korea.
  32. Korea Suicide Prevention Center. (2014). White book 2014.
  33. Kwon, H. K. (2007). The influence on depression and thought of suicide of the old for the experience of abuse. Unpublished master's thesis. Kyonghee University, Seoul, Korea.
  34. Lee, Y. J., & Kim, T. H. (1999). A study on the buffering effect of social support on the stress of the elderly who lives alone. Journal of the Korea Gerontological Society, 19(3), 79-93.
  35. Lee, H. Y., Noh, S. C., & Choi, E. Y. (2011). Growth pattern and spatial distribution of one-person households by socio-economic demographic characteristics. Journal of the Korean Geographical Society, 46(4), 481-501.
  36. Lee, M. S. (2005). Study on the effect of social support on depression and suicide of the old. Unpublished master's thesis. Seoul Women's University, Seoul. Korea.
  37. Lee, S. C. (2010). Socio-economic factors of elderly suicide. Korean social security studies, 26(4), 1-19.
  38. Lee, S. Y. (2014). Factors related to suicidal ideation and depression according to gender among Korean adults. Journal of Korean Public Health Nursing, 28(1), 71-86.
  39. Mirowsky, J.(1996). Age and the gender gap in depression. Journal of health and social behavior, Vol.37(4), 362-380.
  40. Myers, D. (1996). The fund, friends, and faith of happy people. American Psychologist, 55(1), 56-67.
  41. Nam, M. H., Kim, H. O., & Kwon. Y. C. (2013). Factors influencing subjective happiness index of health behavior, smart phone addiction, suicidal ideation among college students. Journal of Digital Convergence, 11(10), 557-569.
  42. OECD (2014). OECD Health statistics 2014.
  43. Park, E. O., & Choi, S. J. (2013). Prevalence of suicidal ideation and related risk factors among Korean adults. Journal of Korean Academy of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 22(2), 88-96.
  44. Park, K. R. (2012). The effects of structured social network types and their relationship to quality of life satisfaction among elderly singles and couples. Korean Journal of Human Ecology, 21(5), 929-945.
  45. Park, H. J. (2007). Factors influencing to suicidal ideation by age group. Unpublished master's thesis. Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
  46. Park, J., Ryu, S. Y., Choi, S. W., & Han, M. A. (2012). Community health survey. Gwangju city.
  47. Park, S. K. (2003). The development and effects of group counseling program for enhancing happiness applying reality therapy. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Hong Ik University, Seoul, Korea.
  48. Pulkki-Raback, L., Kivimaki, Kirsi Ahola, K., Joutsenniemi, K., Elovainio, M., Rossi, H., Puttonen, S., Koskinen, S., Isometsa, E., Lonnqvist, J.. & Virtanen, M. (2012). Living alone and antidepressant medication use: A prospective study in a working-age population. BMC Public Health.
  49. Russell, J. A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(6), 1161-1178.
  50. Shin, M. S., Park, K. B., Oh, K. J., & Kim, Z. S. (1990). A study of suicidal ideation among high school students. Korean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 9(1), 1-19.
  51. Shin, M. S., Park, K. B., & Oh, K. J., (1991). The effect of depression and impulsivity on adolescent suicidal behavior. Korean Journal of Clinical Psychology, 10(1), 286-297.
  52. Shu, H. J. (2005). Social work intervention strategies for preventing suicide in the elderly: With special reference to factors affecting on elderly suicide. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Pusan National University, Yangsan, Korea.
  53. Song, Y. D. (2010). Examining eco-systematic factors influencing suicidal ideation of the elderly who are living alone. Unpublished master's thesis. Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.
  54. Statistical Research Institute. (2012). Korean social trends 2012.
  55. Statistics Korea. (2012). 2012 Social survey. Retrieved from
  56. Suh, E. M., Koo, J. S., Lee, D. G., Jung, T. Y., & Choi, I. C. (2010). Psychology toward happiness. 2010 Korean Psychological Association, 213-232.
  57. Suh, G. H., Kim, J. K., Yeon, B. K., Park, S. K., Yoo, K. Y., Yang, B. K., Kim, Y. S., & Cho, M. J. (2000). Prevalence and risk factors of dementia and depression in the elderly. Journal of the Korean Neuropsychiatry Association, 39(5), 809-824.
  58. Won, E. K. (2013). Social factors of depressive symptoms in an urban community population. Unpublished master's thesis. Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.
  59. Yang, J. S. (2010). Study on single-person households in Gyeonggi province and policy implications for low fertility. Gyeonggido Family & Women's Research Institute.
  60. Yoo, S. H. (2007). Mental health social work & suicide. 2007 Korea Academy of Mental Health Social Work, 243-253.
  61. Yoon, H. K. (2013). Analysis on the related factors of over 65-year-old people suicidal idea: Focused on comparing elderly living alone with ones not living alone. Unpublished master's thesis. Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea.
  62. Yoon, K. J., & Kim, G. Y. (2010). Calculation and comparison of "well-being indicator" for OECD countries. Health-welfare Policy Forum, 159, 86-98.
  63. Yoon, S. H. (2014) The effect of exercise participation on the happiness index, stress and depression of university student. Unpublished master's thesis. Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Chungbuk, Korea.