Culture, risk factors and suicide in rural China: a psychological autopsy case control study

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2004 Dec;110(6):430-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2004.00388.x.


Objective: Previous research on sociocultural factors for Chinese suicide have been basically limited to single case studies or qualitative research with ethnographic methodology. The current study examines the major risk factors and some cultural uniqueness related to Chinese rural suicide using a quantitative design.

Method: This is a case control study with 66 completed suicides and 66 living controls obtained from psychological autopsy interviews in rural China.

Results: Both bivariate analyses and the multiple regression model have found that the Chinese rural suicide patterns are basically similar to those in most other cultures in the world: strong predictors of rural Chinese suicide are the psychopathological, psychological, and physical health variables, followed by social support and negative and stressful life events. Other significant correlates include lower education, poverty, religion, and family disputes.

Conclusion: Culture has an important impact on suicide patterns in a society.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autopsy / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Seasons
  • Social Support
  • Social Values
  • Suicide / ethnology
  • Suicide / psychology*
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data