Association of the type of counselor with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts: a survey of South Korean adolescents

Yunkyung Kim, Wonjeong Jeong, Jieun Yang, Sang Ah Lee, Eun Cheol Park

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Background: Counseling for adolescents who consider or attempt suicide may help reduce suicide rates. However, the impact of the type of counselor (e.g., father, mother, sibling, friend, teacher, other) on suicidal ideation/suicide attempts remains unclear. Therefore, we examined this association in Korean adolescents. Methods: Using data from the 2015 Korea Youth Risk Behavior Web-based Survey of 65,485 adolescents, we examined risk factors for suicidal ideation/suicide attempts according to sex using a multiple logistic regression analysis. In a subgroup analysis, we investigated the associations between counselor type and suicidal ideation/suicide attempts stratified by the cause of stress for both sexes. Results: Male participants were less likely to consider suicide when counseled by their mother (odds ratio [OR] 0.80; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.70–0.90) or friend (OR 0.89; 95% CI 0.80–0.99) and to attempt suicide when counseled by a friend (OR 0.74; 95% CI 0.60–0.92) than were those who did not receive any counseling. Female participants were less likely to attempt suicide when counseled by their mother (OR 0.66; 95% CI 0.53–0.82) or friends (OR 0.70; 95% CI 0.58–0.83) than when not counseled. Furthermore, adolescents with achievement/career choice-related and family problems were at a lower risk of suicide ideation/suicide attempts when counseled by their mother or friend than when they received no counseling. Conclusions: Suicidal ideation/suicide attempts showed different associations for both sexes in accordance with the type of counselor. Even if counseling by specialists for issues such as achievement/career choice-related or family matters is needed, the risk of suicide could be reduced through counseling by the people around them. Therefore, adolescents should form mutually supportive relationships through active communication with surrounding people.

Original languageEnglish
Article number62
JournalChild and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the colleagues from the Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Yonsei University, for providing advice on this manuscript. This study was conducted using raw KYRBWS data approved by the KCDC Institutional Review Board.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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