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Original Research

Open Access

Correlation between income changes in the elderly receiving the basic old-age pension and suicide rates

  • Sun Hwa Lee1
  • Jong Seok Oh2
  • Duk Hee Lee1
  • Yun Hyung Choi1
  • Ji Yeon Lim3,*,

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, College of Medicine, 03760 Seoul, Republic of Korea

2College of Economics, Seoul National University, 08826 Seoul, Republic of Korea

3Department of Emergency Medicine, Ewha Womans University Seoul Hospital, College of Medicine, 07804 Seoul, Republic of Korea

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2022.057 Vol.19,Issue 3,May 2023 pp.44-49

Submitted: 05 April 2022 Accepted: 01 June 2022

Published: 08 May 2023

*Corresponding Author(s): Ji Yeon Lim E-mail:


As of 2018, the highest suicide rates in Korea occur in the elderly, defined as aged 65 or older. There are several factors that influence the suicide rate in the elderly population, but one is economic poverty. The elderly poverty rate is defined as the percentage of elderly people with median or lower incomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlation between the basic pension paid to the elderly in Korea and suicide attempts. This study retrospectively reviewed data registered in the Emergency Department-Based Injury In-Depth Surveillance Database in South Korea from 2011 to 2017. In this study, people aged 60 to 64 years formed the control group, and those aged 65 to 69 years formed the treatment group. Difference-in-Differences (DID) was used for analysis. This study confirmed that the rate of suicide attempts among the elderly decreased by about 0.07% when they received the basic pension. The ratio of the number of suicidal patients (self-reported) to the total number of patients aged 60 to 69 was 0.62%; this ratio was reduced by about 10% among 60- to 69-year-olds receiving the basic pension. The same ratio pattern was found by a sensitivity analysis between groups with different age differences. This is the first study to investigate the correlation between the basic pension and suicide ideation in the elderly population of Korea. This study provides valuable insights, which will contribute to finding ways to prevent elder suicides in Korea through social approaches.


Emergency department; Geriatric psychiatry; Pension; Suicide

Cite and Share

Sun Hwa Lee,Jong Seok Oh,Duk Hee Lee,Yun Hyung Choi,Ji Yeon Lim. Correlation between income changes in the elderly receiving the basic old-age pension and suicide rates. Signa Vitae. 2023. 19(3);44-49.


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