The Association of Level of Internet Use with Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Attempts in South Korean Adolescents: A Focus on Family Structure and Household Economic Status (2016)

Can J Psychiatry. 2016 Apr;61(4):243-251. Epub 2016 Mar 2.

Lee SY1, Park EC2, Han KT2, Kim SJ2, Chun SY2, Park S3.



To examine the association between the level of Internet addiction and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in South Korean adolescents, focusing on the roles of family structure and household economic status.


Data from 221 265 middle and high school students taken from the 2008-2010 Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey were used in this study. To identify factors associated with suicidal ideation/attempts, multiple logistic regression analysis was performed. The level of Internet use was measured using the simplified Korean Internet Addiction Self-assessment Tool.


Compared with mild users of the Internet, high-risk users and potential-risk users were more likely to report suicidal ideation (nonuser, odds ratio [OR] 1.10, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05 to 1.15; potential risk, OR 1.49, 95% CI: 1.36 to 1.63; high risk OR 1.94, 95% CI 1.79 to 2.10) or attempts (nonuser, OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.25 to 1.42; potential risk, OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.38; high risk, OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.71 to 2.14). The nonuser group also had a slightly higher risk of suicidal ideation/attempts compared with mild users. This association appeared to vary by perceived economic status and family structure.


Our study suggests that it is important to attend to adolescents who are at high risk for Internet addiction, especially when they do not have parents, have stepparents, or perceive their economic status as either very low or very high.

© The Author(s) 2016.


Internet addiction; South Korea; adolescent; economic status; family structure; suicidal attempts; suicidal ideation