Suicide Among Adolescents From Multicultural Families in South Korea

Wonjeong Jeong , Cornell University
Hyeyoung Woo, Portland State University

Despite the overall improvement of health and longevity in Korea, suicide rates among adolescents are the highest level among developed countries and are continuously on the rise. This study investigated suicide attempt focusing on the immigration status among adolescents – the population that has been dramatically increasing in the recent decades. Using data of a nationally representative sample of adolescents in Korea (N=414,907), we estimated the association between the immigration status and suicide attempt. Our results indicate that having a foreign-born parent(s) is associated with higher risks of experiencing suicide attempts. Although much of the disparity is attributed to family background, school characteristics, and health risky behaviors, the disadvantages of the immigrant youth still remain significant even after accounting for all the covariates. We also found that the association is greater for boys, and for those with foreign born parents or foreign born father. We discussed implications of the findings.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity