Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology

Committee Chair(s)

Eric N. Reither


Eric N. Reither


H. Reed Geertsen


Michael B. Toney


Suicide is one of the major health issues and causes of mortality in modern societies. A global morality rate of suicide is 16 persons per 100,000 according to the World Health Organization report. Fortunately, the rates in most OECD countries have shown a dramatic decrease over the last 20 years. There are, however, two important exceptions, Japan and South Korea. The suicide rates in these two countries have been on an increasing trend. Because the two neighboring countries share similar socio-demographic contexts, I investigated the effects of the three time-related demographic variables (age, period, and cohort) on suicide rates in Japan and South Korea. The Age-Period-Cohort Intrinsic Estimator model was operated using data of vital statistics and population census from the Statistics Bureau and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in Japan, and cause of death data and population census from Statistics Korea in South Korea. Even though the two countries are neighboring countries that have had some similar socio-demographic contexts, the factors contributing to increasing suicide rates vary in each country. The result showed age effects in Japan greatly contributed to suicide compared to period and cohort effects, and the age effects were highest during the fifties age bracket. On the other hand, South Korea turned out to have more compound reasons, showing pronounced age effects in the elderly population, increasing period effects, and the strong cohort effects of the current elderly and middle-aged populations. From this result, although Japan and South Korea are neighboring countries with shared histories, industrial structures, social systems, and some similar demographic characteristics, the cause of increasing suicide rates in the two countries clearly varies and the efforts for preventing suicide must also vary depending on the social contexts of each country.




This work made publicly available electronically on July 30, 2012.

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