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Asian J Psychiatr. 2009 Oct;2(3):95-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2009.07.001. Epub 2009 Aug 27.

Mental health and quality of life of North Korean defectors living in Japan.

Author information

1
Department of Neuropsychiatry, Toho University School of Medicine, 6-11-1 Oomori-nishi, Oota-ku, Tokyo 143-8541, Japan.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to clarify the effect of migration of North Korean defectors to different host countries on the mental health and quality of life of the migrants by comparing three subject groups: North Korean defectors living in Japan, a group of Japanese workers living in Japan (for comparison), and North Korean defectors living in South Korea. The North Korean defectors living in Japan scored significantly higher on the Beck Depression Inventory, and also scored lower across all domains of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment than the other two groups. However, no significant difference in the overall quality of life score was observed between the North Korean defectors living in Japan and the Japanese workers, while the North Korean defectors living in South Korea scored significantly higher as compared to both. These findings suggest that the insecurity of social factors because of poor fluency in the language of the host country, unemployment and unclear nationality, and the limited support system may contribute to the poor mental health and low quality of life of North Korean defectors living in Japan. Migration may promote a sense of achievement and improve the overall quality of life, but attention must be paid to the pervasive depression in these migrants.

PMID:
23051049
DOI:
10.1016/j.ajp.2009.07.001

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