Article Text

This article has a correction. Please see:

Download PDFPDF
Diabetes and raised blood glucose as risk factors for future suicide: cohort study of 1 234 927 Korean men and women
  1. G David Batty1,2,3,4,
  2. Mika Kivimaki1,
  3. Il Su Park5,
  4. Sun Ha Jee6,7,8
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  2. 2Centre for Cognitive Ageing & Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  3. 3Medical Research Council Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, Glasgow, UK
  4. 4The George Institute for International Health, Sydney, Australia
  5. 5National Health Insurance Corporation, Seoul, Korea
  6. 6Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  7. 7Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  8. 8Institute for Health Promotion, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  1. Correspondence to Professor Sun Ha Jee, Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, Yonsei University, Seoul, Republic of Korea; jsunha{at}


Background A diagnosis of diabetes has been shown to be a risk factor for suicide in selected studies. The link between blood glucose and future suicide has yet to be examined.

Aim To examine if diabetes and blood glucose level are associated with a raised risk of suicide.

Methods The Korean Cancer Prevention Study is a cohort of 1 329 525 individuals (482 618 women) aged 30–95 years at baseline. A fasting serum specimen was assayed for blood glucose, and diabetes status was categorised into five groups based on existing definitions. Study members were followed for mortality experience over 14 years.

Results There were 472 suicide deaths (389 in men and 83 in women) during the follow-up. In men, there was a ‘J’-shaped diabetes–suicide death relation. Thus, while the highest suicide rates were apparent in those with type 2 diabetes and there was an incremental fall in suicide risk with decreasing blood glucose level, an inflection was seen in the low-normal group. Similar results were apparent in women, although there was no raised risk in the lowest blood glucose group.

Conclusion In the present cohort, diabetes (both existing and study detected) but not raised blood glucose was a risk factor for completed suicide.

  • Epidemiology
  • cancer
  • CHD/coronorary heart

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding This study was funded by a grant (10526) from the Korean Seoul City Research and Business Development Program. GDB is a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellow; funds from this fellowship supported GDB's travel to South Korea. MK is supported by the Academy of Finland, Finland; the BUPA Foundation, UK; the NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (R01HL036310-20A2) and the National Institute on Aging (R01AG034454), US. The Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology is supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Medical Research Council and the University of Edinburgh.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Linked Articles

  • Corrections
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd