Psychological Medicine

Original Article

Suicide in Hong Kong: a case-control psychological autopsy study

ERIC Y. H. CHEN a1c1, WINCY S. C. CHAN a1, PAUL W. C. WONG a1, SANDRA S. M. CHAN a1, CECILIA L. W. CHAN a1, Y. W. LAW a1, PHILIP S. L. BEH a1, K. K. CHAN a1, JOANNE W. Y. CHENG a1, KA Y. LIU a1 and PAUL S. F. YIP a1
a1 Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

Article author query
chen ey   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
chan ws   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
wong pw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
chan ss   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
chan cl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
law yw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
beh ps   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
chan kk   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
cheng jw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
liu ky   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
yip ps   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


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.

c1 Department of Psychiatry and HKJC Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, 3B, No. 2 University Drive, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong. (Email: