Factors Influencing Suicidal ideation among Korean University Students

  • Kim, Inhong (Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, Dongguk University) ;
  • Park, Younghee (Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, Dongguk University)
  • Received : 2019.08.15
  • Accepted : 2019.08.27
  • Published : 2019.09.30


Korea has the highest suicide rate among the OECD countries, and the suicide rate is highest among young adults in their 20s, most of whom are university students. Therefore, suicide among Korean university students is a public health issue that is of interest to us. The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors affecting the suicidal ideation of university students in Korea, and to use them as a basis to establish effective intervention for university suicide prevention through it. This was a cross-sectional descriptive study using convenience sampling method. The participants were 344 university students at universities in S and G cities. Data were collected with a structured questionnaire and analyzed using descriptive analysis, t-test, ANOVA, Pearson correlation coefficients, and hierarchical regression analysis using with the SPSS/Win 23.0 program. There was a significant correlation between depression (r=.45, p<.001), drinking alcohol (r=.14, p=.008), social support (r=-.26, p<.001), quality of life (r=-.46, p<.001), and suicidal ideation. In the first step of hierarchical regression analysis, satisfaction of school life (${\beta}=.198$, p<.001) was the significant factor influencing the suicidal ideation. Explanatory power was 25.2%. In the second step of the hierarchical regression analysis, absence of parents (${\beta}=-.095$, p=.044), depression (${\beta}=.247$, p<.001), quality of life (${\beta}=-.280$, p<.001), and explanatory power were increased to 42.0%. The results of the study indicate the need to actively identify the group of university students in their 20s with high risk of suicide through continuous evaluation of depression, and to improve the quality of life as a method of preventing suicide. In addition, the effect of absence of parents on the suicidal ideation among Korean university students suggests that parental support may play an important role in suicide prevention.


Suicidal Ideation;Depression;Quality of Life;Young Adult


  1. The OECD of Internet, Health at Glance 2015: OECD Indicators, Paris: OECD publishing.
  2. The Statistics Korea of Internet, Annual report on the causes of death statistics 2016.
  3. The Ministry of Education of Internet, 2017 Brief Statistics on Korean Education,;jsessionid=sdeXqcX9AzPcSiGQQF12kVfSKDblLNVHcsTPV1zjAcwIRSmZU7NwECf7RTu1Hc0r?survSeq=2017&publSeq=4&menuSeq=3645&itemCode=02&language=en.
  4. Y. Y. Kang, "Suicide case study of college students", Studies on Life and Culture, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 2-11, 2008.
  5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of Internet, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: Suicidal thoughts and behaviors among adults aged ${\geq}18$ years - United States, 2008-2009.
  6. S. J. Garlow, J. M. Rosenberg, J. D. Moore, A. P. Haas, B. Koestner and H. Hendin et al., "Depression, desperation, and suicidal ideation in college students: results from the American foundation for suicide prevention college screening project at Emory university", Depress Anxiety. Vol. 25, No. 6, pp. 482-488, 2008. DOI:
  7. D. Eisenberg, S. E. Gollust, E. Golberstein and J. L. Hefner, "Prevalence and correlates of depression, anxiety, and suicidality among university students", American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Vol. 77, pp. 534- 542, 2010.
  8. S. Langlois and P. Morrison, "Suicide deaths and suicide attempts", Public Health Reports, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 9-22, 2002.
  9. M. Rutter, "Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms", American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 57, No. 3, pp. 533-562, 1987.
  10. J. Y. Park, "The effects of risk and protective factors on adolescent suicide", Korean Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 249-272, 2009.
  11. A. Stravynski and R. Boyer, "Loneliness in relation to suicide ideation and parasuicide: a population-wide study", Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 32-40, 2001. DOI:
  12. Jr. T. E. Joiner, J. S. Brown and L. R. Wingate, "The Psychology and Neurobiology of Suicidal Behavior", Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 56, pp. 287-314, 2005. DOI:
  13. L. N. Abreu, F. G. Nery, J. M. Harkavy-Friedman, K. M. Almeida, B. C. Gomes and M. A. Oquendo et al., "Suicide attempts are associated with worse quality of life in patients with bipolar disorder type I", Comprehensive Psychiatry, Vol. 53, No. 2, pp. 125-129, 2012. DOI:
  14. F. Faul, E. Erdfelder and A. Buchner, "G* Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences", Behavior Research Methods, Vol. 39, pp.175-191, 2007. DOI:
  15. L. S. Radloff, "The CES-D scale: a self-report depression scale for research in the general population", Applied Psychological Measurement, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 385-401, 1977. DOI:
  16. K. K. Chon and M. K. Rhee, "Preliminary development of Korean version of CES-D", Korean Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 65-76, 1992.
  17. The Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs of Internet, Health and Policy Tasks of Koreans: Health and Welfare Forum.
  18. Barnett F. C., The relationship of selected cognitive-perceptual factors to health promoting behaviors of adolescents, Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Texas, Texas at Austin, TX, USA., 1989.
  19. M. J. Stoker, G. C. Dunbar and G. Beaumont, "The SmithKline Beecham 'quality of life' Scale : A validation and reliability study in patients with affective disorder", Quality of Life Research, Vol. 1, No. 6, pp. 385-399, 1992.
  20. J. S. Yoon, S. H. Kook and M. S. Lee, "A preliminary study on Korean version of the SmithKline Beecham quality of life scale", Journal of Korean Neuropsychiatric Association, Vol. 37, No. 2, pp. 280-294, 1998.
  21. A. E. Beck, M. Kovacs and A. Weissman, "Assessment of suicidal intention: the scale for suicide ideation", Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 343-352, 1979. DOI:
  22. N. B. Park and M. S. Shin, "College goal and suicidal ideation among high school students. Korean", Journal of Clinical Psychology. Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 20-32, 1990.
  23. Park J. Y., The relationship between quality of life and suicidal ideation for adults in Korea, Master's Thesis. Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Korea, 2011.
  24. C. M. Jang and J. Y. Choi, "Characteristics of Suicides among University Students in Korea: An Analysis of News Reports", Korean Journal of Health Education and Promotion, Vol. 28, No. 5, pp. 72-82, 2011.
  25. S. Y. Lee, Y. Y. Kim and J. S. Lee, "The convergent effect of self-esteem, depression, and social support on suicidal ideation in university students", Journal of Digital Convergence, Vol. 8, pp. 323-331, 2017. DOI:
  26. Y. R. Park and E. H. Jang, "Impact of Stress on depression among university student: Testing for moderating effect of social support", Korean Journal of Adult Nursing, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 549-558, 2013. DOI:
  27. American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders-5 and (DSM-5).5th ed, Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association, pp. 947, 2013.
  28. S. A. Kang, H. W. Kim and B. J. Park, "The Moderating Effect of Resilience in Relation between Job Seeking Stress, Socially Prescribed Perfectionism and Depression of University Students", Korean Journal of Youth Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 77-98, 2016. DOI: https://10.21509/KJYS.2016.
  29. T. M. Toolan, "Suicide and suicidal attempts in children and adolescents", American Psychiatric Association. Vol. 118, No. 8, pp. 719-724, 2006. DOI: