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BMC Public Health. 2014 Sep 26;14:999. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-999.

Factors associated with self-rated health among North Korean defectors residing in South Korea.

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Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine and Catholic Institute for Healthcare Management, The Catholic University of Korea, 222 Banpo-daero, Seocho-gu, Seoul 137-701, Korea.



The number of North Korean refugees entering South Korea has increased recently. The health status of refugees is a significant factor in determining their success in resettlement; therefore, this study examined both the self-rated health status of North Korean defectors who have settled in South Korea and the factors associated with their self-rated health status.


This study utilized data gained from face-to-face interviews with 500 North Korean defectors who arrived in South Korea in 2007. The interviews were structured and conducted by 'Yonsei University Research Team for North Korean defectors'. A stepwise multivariable linear regression was performed to determine the factors associated with their self-rated health status.


North Korean defectors who were female, elderly, or had low annual household income, disability or chronic diseases reported lower health status. However, self-rated health status was higher among those who had settled in South Korea for 18 months or more, who were satisfied with government support or their current life, and who had experienced more traumatic events in North Korea.


Government policies and refugee assistance programs should consider and reflect the factors relevant to the health status of North Korean defectors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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