Thematic Analysis of Medical Notes Offers Preliminary Insight into Precipitants for Asian Suicide Attempters: An Exploratory Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Apr 20;15(4):809. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15040809.


One important dynamic risk factor for suicide assessment includes suicide precipitant. This exploratory study used a qualitative paradigm to look into the themes surrounding precipitants for suicide attempts in Singapore. Medical records related to suicide attempters who were admitted to the emergency department of a large teaching hospital in Singapore over a three year period were subjected to analysis. A total of 666 cases were examined (69.2% females; 63.8% Chinese, 15% Malays, 15.8% Indians), ages ranged from 10 years old to 85 years old (Mean = 29.7, Standard Deviation = 16.1). The thematic analysis process that was applied to the textual data elicited key concepts labelled as Relationship issues, Financial strain, Socio-legal-academic—environmental stress, and Physical and mental illness and pain. Interpreted with other recent local research on suicide attempters in Singapore, the findings have implications for informing suicide interventions.

Keywords: Asia; stress; suicide attempts; suicide precipitants; thematic analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records*
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Singapore
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult