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Int J Psychiatry Med. 2012;43(4):381-403.

Suicidality and its associated factors in cancer patients: results of a multi-center study in Korea.

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Catholic University of Daegu, Korea.



The current study examined the prevalence and associated factors of suicidality among Korean cancer patients. Moreover, the association of multiple psychological morbidities with suicidality was investigated among cancer patients.


A cross-sectional, multi-center survey of 400 cancer patients was administered in five cancer-treatment hospitals throughout South Korea. Study variables were assessed using standardized measures including the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview suicidality module, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised.


20.1% (80/399) of patients were positive cases of suicidality. Having no religion (p = .010), poor performance status (p = .000), and psychological comorbidity (p = .021) were significantly associated with the experience of suicidality in the multivariate analysis. Compared to "fully active" patients, patients who were capable of self-care but unable to perform any work activities had about a six times higher risk of suicidality (p = .000). Compared to patients with no psychological morbidity, the risk of suicidality was significantly higher among patients with comorbid anxiety and depression (p = .024), those experiencing comorbid depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (p = 0.051), and those experiencing comorbid anxiety, depression and PTSD (p = .001).


This study found that having no religion, impaired levels of overall functioning, and "multiple psychological morbidities" were associated with suicidality in Korean cancer patients. These findings suggest a need for careful monitoring of these factors and enhanced comprehensive care addressing both the physical and psychosocial functioning of patients with cancer in suicide prevention efforts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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