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Korean Adolescents’ Social Life and Their Suicidal Ideation (in Korean)
Society and Theory (2014)
  • Kim Doo-Hwan
  • Hyeyoung Woo, Portland State University

This paper raises the issue of social and ecological conditions surrounding adolescents. Mainly driven by achievement system of Korean society, it is hard to find social integration in such conditions. By analyzing Korean Education Longitudinal Study (KELS) data, we try to explain the association between social integration and suicidal ideation of Korean adolescents. In this process, we are in debt to Durkheim's argument which considers the division of labor in modern society as evolution process of social systems to bring about "organic solidarity." As pursuing the same end (so-called better test scores), Korean adolescents can not develop social cohesion or positive social relations but are in highly competitive networks. This shows that Korean society was successful in achieving systematic integration (the reproduction of materials and institutional strategies) from survival-of-the-fittest point of view, but failed to integrate society from the perspective of Durkheim's argument. While Korean adolescents experience severe competition at school, their lives turn into lack of social integration. With KELS data, we investigate adolescents' social relations with parents, friends and teachers, and discuss how mother's role as a planner is associated with suicidal ideation of adolescents in a society where the logic of system integration is pervasive. As a result, the high level of Korean adolescents' suicidal ideation calls for the change in systems to help adolescents to develop persisting positive social relations. and also it reminds us of Durkheim's claim that education helps adolescents to discover 'society.'

  • Suicide -- Risk factors -- South Korea,
  • Suicide -- Risk assessment,
  • Suicide -- South Korea -- Prevention,
  • Youth -- South Korea -- Social conditions,
  • Adolescents -- South Lorea
Publication Date
Citation Information
Kim Doo-Hwan and Hyeyoung Woo. "Korean Adolescents’ Social Life and Their Suicidal Ideation (in Korean)" Society and Theory Vol. 24 Iss. 1 (2014)
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