Journal List > J Korean Acad Community Health Nurs > v.25(3) > 1058348

Baek and Lee: Factors Affecting Suicidal Ideation of the Low-income Elderly Living Alone



The purpose of this research is to identify factors affecting suicidal ideation of the low-income elderly.


The study subjects were lowest-income(basic living allowance) and lower-income elders who were registered for home visiting services at five District Health Centers in Seoul. Interview data were collected from 280 elders and analyzed. Using SPSS/WIN 21, χ2-test and t-test were conducted to analyze the relationship between the subjects' characteristics and their suicidal ideation, and logistic regression was done to identify factors affecting suicidal ideation.


Of the subjects, 48.6% had suicidal ideation for the last one year. Self-evaluated psychological status, quality of sleep, depression, and loneliness were affecting factors to the subjects' suicidal ideation.


Psychological and social factors are strongly related to the suicidal ideation of the elderly who are living alone in metropolitan areas. Therefore, home visiting services should supply physical, psychological and social cares continuously to the low-income elderly, especially those who live alone in metropolitan areas.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
General Characteristics of the Subjects (N=218)

Note. Except missing data.

Table 2
Health related Characteristics of the Subjects (N=218)

Note. Except missing data.

Table 3
Relationship between Suicidal Ideation and Subjects Characteristics (N=218)
Table 4
Factors Affecting Suicidal Ideation


1. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Society at a glance 2009: OECD social indicators. [Internet]. Paris: OECD;2009. cited 2014 May 15. Available from:
2. Ministry of Health and Welfare. Comprehensive assistant plan for elderly living alone. [Internet]. Seoul: Ministry of Health and Welfare;2012. cited 2014 May 15. Available from:
3. Han SS, Kang SW, Jeong SH. Experiences of depressive symptom and suicidal thinking between the elderly living alone and the elderly couples. Korean J Health Serv Manag. 2012; 6(3):29–38.
4. Sohn JN. A study on factors influencing the suicidal ideation in elderly people who live alone or live with family. J Korean Acad Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2012; 21(2):118–126.
5. Kim HY, Lee YH, Lee SJ, Choi SH. Four heavy sufferings on Korean elderly: Its causes and counter measures. [Internet]. Gyeonggi: Gyeonggi Research Institute;2013. cited 2014 May 15. Available from:
6. Conwell Y, Duberstein PR. Suicide in elders. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001; 932(1):132–150.
7. Manthorpe J, Iliffe S. Suicide in later life: Public health and practitioner perspectives. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2010; 25(12):1230–1238.
8. Koo CY, Kim JS, Yu J. A study on factors influencing elders' suicidal ideation: Focused on comparison of gender differences. J Korean Acad Community Health Nurs. 2014; 25(1):24–32.
9. Maglione JE, Ancoli-Israel S, Peters KW, Paudel ML, Yaffe K, Ensrud KE, et al. Depressive symptoms and subjective and objective sleep in community-dwelling older women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012; 60(4):635–643.
10. Lee JK, Kim JH. A study on the needs of the elderly living alone in Seoul. Seoul Stud. 2013; 14(3):191–211.
11. Buysse DJ, Reynolds CF, Monk TH, Berman SR, Kupfer DJ. The Pittsburgh sleep quality index: A new instrument for psychiatric practice and research. Psychiatry Res. 1989; 28(2):193–213.
12. Sheikh VI, Yesavage VA. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), recent evidence and development of s shorter version. In : Brink TL, editor. Clinical gerontology-a guide to assessment and intervention. New York: Haworth Press;1986. p. 165–174.
13. Kee BS. A preliminary study for the standardization of a geriatric depression scale short form-Korea version. J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc. 1996; 35(2):298–307.
14. Peplau LA, Perlman D. Perspectives on loneliness. In : Peplau LA, Perlman D, editors. Loneliness: A source book of current theory, research, and therapy. New York: Wiley&Sons;1982. p. 1–18.
15. Russell DW. UCLA Loneliness Scale (Version 3): Reliability, validity, and factor structure. J Pers Assess. 1996; 66(1):20–40.
16. Kim OS. Korean version of revised UCLA loneliness scale: Reliability and validity test. J Nurs Acad Soc. 1997; 27(4):871–879.
17. Rim CS, Jang GS, Jeong MS. A study on influential factors for the suicide ideation of the elderly living alone. J Soc Sci Res. 2013; 22:192–223.
18. Kim MY, Lee EJ. Rest-activity rhythm and sleep pattern in the elderly. J Korean Biol Nurs Sci. 2011; 13(3):211–219.
19. Yang SJ, Kim JS. Factors affecting the quality of sleep among community dwelling elders. J Korean Gerontol Nurs. 2010; 12(2):108–118.
20. Krakow B, Ribeiro JD, Ulibarri VA, Krakow J, Joiner TE Jr. Sleep disturbances and suicidal ideation in sleep medical center patients. J Affect Disord. 2011; 131(1-3):422–427. http://dx.doi:10.1016/j.jad.2010.12.001.
21. Song EK, Son YJ. Impact of Body Mass Index and perceived health status on depression in elderly women living alone in the community. J Korean Acad Psychiatr Ment Health Nurs. 2011; 20(4):376–385.
22. Kwon OG, Hur JS. A study on the causal model of suicide ideation among the low-income elderly persons who living alone-focused on the mediating effect of self-esteem, depression, and hopelessness. Ment Health Soc Work. 2013; 41(4):65–93.
23. Choi Y. Economic and health status, social support and depression of elderly living alone. Soc Sci Res Rev. 2008; 24(4):103–123.
24. Kim OS, Baik SH. The relationships among loneliness, social support, and family function in elderly Korean. J Korean Acad Nurs. 2003; 33(3):425–432.
25. Kwon JD, Um TY, Kim YJ. A study on factors affecting suicide risk among seniors who live alone: The effect of loneliness and the mediating effect of hopelessness. Health Soc Welf Rev. 2012; 32(1):89–114.
26. Lebret S, Perret-Vaille E, Mulliez A, Gerbaud L, Jalenques I. Elderly suicide attempters: Characteristics and outcome. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006; 21:1052–1059. http://dx.doi:10.1002/gps.1605.
27. Stravynski A, Boyer R. Loneliness in relation to suicide ideation and parasuicide: A population-wide study. Suicide Life Threat Behav. 2001; 31(1):32–40.
Similar articles