Background: A surge in suicide rates in middle age people in Hong Kong and many Asian countries was recently observed. However, there is a paucity of suicide research on this subgroup of people in Asia.
Methods: The next-of-kin of 85 suicide cases and 85 community subjects aged 30-49 years were interviewed by a psychological autopsy approach. Information was triangulated by interview notes, coroner's court files, and police investigation reports.
Results: A multiple logistic regression analysis identified the following risk factors for suicide among the middle age people in Hong Kong: the presence of at least one psychiatric disorder (OR = 37.5, 95% CI 11.5-121.9, p < 0.001), indebtedness (OR = 9.4, 95% CI 2.2-40.8, p < 0.01), unemployment (OR = 4.8, 95% CI 1.3-17.5, p < 0.05), never married (OR = 4.2, 95% CI 1.1-16.3, p < 0.05), and lived alone (OR = 3.9, 95% CI 1.2-13.4, p < 0.05).
Conclusion: The data show that socio-economical factors had a strong impact on suicide in the target group. Further research is needed to explore any positive qualities that protect the middle-aged from suicide. The prevention of suicide in the middle-aged requires multiple strategies.