Suicide deaths among diagnostic medical radiation workers in South Korea, 1996-2017

Won Jin Lee, Eun Shil Cha, Ye Jin Bang, Chia Yueh Hsu, Shu Sen Chang

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives Suicide is a leading cause of death in the working-age population. We investigated suicide mortality among diagnostic medical radiation workers in relation to their demographic and occupational factors in South Korea. Methods The study population consisted of all diagnostic medical radiation workers enrolled in the National Dosimetry Registry from 1996 to 2011. The registry data were linked with mortality data through the end of 2017. We calculated age-standardised suicide rates, standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) and rate ratios (RRs) by demographic and occupational factors. Results A total of 207 suicides were identified among 94 367 medical radiation workers, exhibiting a suicide rate of 14.0 per 100 000 person-years. Compared with the general population, suicide rates were lower for both male and female workers (SMR 0.49, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.42 to 0.57; SMR 0.54, 95% CI 0.41 to 0.70, respectively). Similarly, decreased SMRs were observed across job titles and other work-related factors. However, a shorter duration of employment was positively associated with RRs for suicide; risks were 2.74 (95% CI 1.56 to 4.81) and 4.66 (95% CI 1.53 to 14.20) times higher in male and female workers with less than 1 year of employment, respectively, than in those with at least 10 years of employment. Conclusions Diagnostic medical radiation workers in South Korea showed lower suicide rates than in the general population. However, a shorter duration of employment was associated with higher risk of suicide. Suicide prevention efforts could target workers engaged in short-term employment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-680
Number of pages6
JournalOccupational and Environmental Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) grant funded by the Korea government(MSIT) (no. 2020R1A2C1008891).

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  • epidemiology
  • health care workers
  • mortality studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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