SEOUL, May 10 (Korea Bizwire) — An increase in internet searches for “dropping out” among adolescents is associated with a rise in suicides, a study indicated Tuesday, highlighting the need for stronger suicide prevention efforts aimed at students considering leaving school.
According to a report published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, a team of researchers led by professor Choi Won-seok from the Catholic University of Korea Yeouido St. Mary’s Hospital analyzed anonymized data of students aged 13 to 18 who commited suicide in Korea between 2016 and 2020.
The team examined the correlation between the data and the search volume of 26 youth suicide and self-harm-related words extracted from NAVER Data Lab, using multivariate regression analysis.
The study found that an increase in search volume for “dropping out” was linked to suicide in both male and female adolescents.
Moreover, the time interval with the highest correlation between suicide deaths and “dropout” search volume was day 0, meaning that suicide deaths tended to increase within a day of a surge in search volume.
Among female adolescents, “self-harm” and “academic performance (school grades)” searches were associated with suicide deaths, with the strongest associations at 0 days and -11 days (11 days before death), respectively.
An increase in the number of self-harm searches was linked to higher suicide rates, but an increase in searches related to academic performance was linked to decreased suicide.
Additionally, female adolescents tended to search for self-injury-related words alongside suicide-related words.
In contrast to studies conducted in other countries, this study did not demonstrate a connection between “depressive” search volume and suicide, which the researchers speculate may reflect the effectiveness of national suicide prevention policies.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)