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Psychiatry Investig. 2009 Sep;6(3):122-30. doi: 10.4306/pi.2009.6.3.122. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

Prevalence and Correlates of Depressive Symptoms among North Korean Defectors Living in South Korea for More than One Year.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Institute of Medical Science, Jeju National University School of Medicine, Jeju, Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examined the prevalence and correlates of depressive symptoms in North Korean defectors who have been living in South Korea for more than one year.

METHODS:

We used questionnaires developed by the authors to collect sociodemographic data in addition to the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the Psychosocial Well-being Index to measure stress, and a social support scale. A total of 367 subjects were included in this study.

RESULTS:

The results showed that 30.5% of the men and 34.7% of the women reported depressive symptoms, and 33.1% of the men and 36.1% of the women exhibited signs of severe distress. Correlates of depressive symptoms were lack of occupation [odds ratio (OR)=2.198, 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.247-3.873], having escaped without family (OR=1.725, 95% CI, 1.006-2.959), and a poor subjective sense of health status (OR=3.111, 95% CI, 1.591-6.085).

CONCLUSION:

Continuing vocational training and career management, psychological support programs, and intensive physical health services are needed to improve the mental health of this population.

KEYWORDS:

Correlates; Depressive symptoms; North Korean defectors

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