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Inquiry. 2018 Jan-Dec;55:46958018774177. doi: 10.1177/0046958018774177.

Social Relationships and Suicidal Ideation Among the Elderly Who Live Alone in Republic of Korea: A Logistic Model.

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1 Hallym University, Chunchun-si, South Korea.
2 Pai Chai University, Daejeon, South Korea.
3 Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea.


With population aging and change in family structure, the number of the elderly who live alone is rapidly increasing in Korea. The aim of this study was to explore the association between social relationships-especially newly formed formal social relationships (FSRs)-and suicidal ideation among Korean elderly who live alone. The elderly who live alone (N = 2509) from the 2014 Survey of Living Conditions and Welfare Needs of Older Koreans were analyzed using logistic regression. This study found that informal social relationships (ISRs) (eg, children, friends and neighbors) of the elderly who live alone had statistically significant association with suicidal ideation, whereas FSRs (eg, formal helper and social participation) did not have significant association with suicidal ideation. The findings of this study suggest that the Korean Government needs to strengthen public system for alleviating social isolation of the elderly living alone. Therefore, this study proposed 2 strategic approaches to maintain and strengthen ISRs and to develop different types of FSRs (eg, the measures to combine FSRs with ISRs, gatekeepers, etc).


Republic of Korea; elderly who live alone; formal social relationships; informal social relationships; logistic models; suicidal ideation

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