The occupation of farming has been reported to be associated with a high suicide rate, and suicidal ideation is an important risk factor for suicide. The objective of this study was to explore the association between occupational pesticide exposure or poisoning history and suicidal ideation among male farmers in South Korea. Through a nationwide sampling survey, a total of 1958 male farmers were interviewed in 2011 in South Korea. Detailed occupational pesticide exposure and pesticide poisoning information were obtained from face-to-face interviews. Suicidal ideation was defined as whether they had thought of harming themselves or trying to take their own lives over the preceding year. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the effect of pesticide poisoning on suicidal ideation. Among all farmers, 4.7% (n=92) reported suicidal ideation in 2010. After controlling for potential confounders, lifetime hospitalization due to pesticide poisoning showed a 2.48-fold increase in risk (95% CI: 1.26, 4.91). Those with multiple poisonings showed more significant associations with suicidal ideation (OR=2.33 for once, OR=3.02 for more than once). Moderate- or severe-symptom severity of acute pesticide poisoning cases (OR=2.23; 95% CI: 1.21-4.11) also showed increased risks of suicidal ideation than the milder classes did. However, no significant association was identified with cumulative lifetime pesticide application and suicidal ideation. Our findings suggest that risk of suicidal ideation is related to occupational pesticide poisoning among male farmers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding sources: This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korea Government (MEST) (No. 2010-0021742 ), Republic of Korea.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Environmental Science