HDR Candidate: Elcin Tuzel

Milestone: PhD Mid-candidature review

Title: The Impact of Family Abuse on Student Suicidal Ideation: Evidence from South Korea

Time and date: 11am, Tuesday 18 January 2022

Zoom linkhttps://uqz.zoom.us/j/2617984669


One person dies every 40 seconds in the world by suicide every year (WHO, 2021), and it can happen to anyone irrespective of their age. Today, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 to 19-year-olds (WHO, 2021). Yet, suicide is more than just an impulsive decision; as such, suicide ideation and attempt are important indicators of mental and social wellbeing  (Gunnell and Frankel, 1994). Using Korean Youth Panel Survey (KYPS) data from 2003 to 2008, we aim to estimate the impact of parental abuse on students suicidal ideation, controlling for other potential determinants.

Our focus on parent-to-student abuse is motivated by the fact that parent-child discord and abuse are strong predictors of adolescent suicide attempts and suicide (Pelkonen and Marttunen, 2003; WHO,2021). To achieve the aim, we exploit individual-level variation in parent-to-student abuse over time while accounting for unobserved individual-specific, time-invariant heterogeneity using fixed effects. Furthermore, we use a quasi-experimental method—the event study approach with matching—to exploit the existing circumstances in which the treatment assignment has a sufficient element of randomness by constructing a control group as similar as possible to the treatment group (WB, 2018).

Our results suggest that parent-to-student abuse, on average, is associated with an increase in a student's probability of suicidal ideation by approximately 6.1% in the year of the abuse, but the effect does not continue into subsequent years. In addition, we find noticeable differences between being abused in one year, in multiple years, and in consecutive multiple years. For those being abused in one year only, their probability of suicidal ideation increases by 5.4%, compared to 7.4% for those being abused in multiple years, and the impact increases much further to 12.4% for those being abused in consecutive multiple years. 


Via Zoom