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Asian J Psychiatr. 2013 Oct;6(5):373-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2013.03.011. Epub 2013 May 7.

Characteristics of overdose and non-overdose suicide attempts in a multi-ethnic Asian society.

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Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Electronic address:



Overdosing is an accessible method adopted by people attempting suicide in city settings.


This study aimed to compare the trends and characteristics of people attempting suicide by drug overdose and by other methods in Singapore.


This study examined the medical records of 628 patients who were admitted to a university hospital in Singapore, between January 2004 and December 2006. Patients were classified as overdose and non-overdose persons attempting suicide for comparisons of demographic and suicidal characteristics. Logistic regression was used to determine the odds ratios of various factors associated with self-perceived lethality of the suicide attempt. Patterns of monthly and weekly variations in the frequencies of suicide attempts were also analyzed.


The percentages of Chinese people was higher in the non-overdose group (71.5% vs. 62.9%), while the percentages of Malay and Indian people were higher in the overdose group (31.6% vs. 18.5%). The female gender (OR=0.36, p=0.04) and admission of suicide intention (OR=7.11, p<0.001) were significantly associated with higher perceived lethality of the suicide method in the non-overdose group. Suicide attempts occurred more frequently between May and November, and on Tuesdays.


Gender and ethnic differences between overdose and non-overdose people attempting suicide were found. Temporal variations of suicidal cases were also noted.


Ethnicity; Overdose; Singapore; Suicide

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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