Background: The relative contribution of psychosocial and clinical risk factors to suicide among Chinese populations is an important issue. In Hong Kong, this issue requires vigorous examination in light of a 50% increase in suicide rate between 1997 and 2003.
Method: Using a case-control psychological autopsy method, 150 suicide deceased were compared with 150 living controls matched by age and gender. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the next-of-kin of the subjects. Data were collected on a wide range of potential risk and protective factors, including demographic, life event, clinical and psychological variables. The relative contribution of these factors towards suicide was examined in a multiple logistic regression model.
Results: Six factors were found to significantly and independently contribute to suicide: unemployment, indebtedness, being single, social support, psychiatric illness, and history of past attempts.
Conclusions: Both psychosocial and clinical factors are important in suicides in Hong Kong. They seem to have mediated suicide risk independently. In addition, socio-economic adversities seem to have played a relatively important role in the increasing suicide rate in Hong Kong.