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Psychiatry Investig. 2018 Jan;15(1):49-53. doi: 10.4306/pi.2018.15.1.49. Epub 2018 Jan 16.

The Effects of Discrimination Experience on Life Satisfaction of North Korean Refugees: Mediating Effect of Stress.

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Department of Healthcare Management, Eulji University, Seongnam, Republic of Korea.
Global Health Unit, Department of Health Sciences, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands.
Department of Humanities and Social Medicine, College of Medicine and Catholic Institute for Healthcare Management, the Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Department of Social Welfare, Seoul Women's University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Clinical Trial Center, Korea University Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



This study investigated the mediation effect of stress between the experience of discrimination and life satisfaction among North Korean refugees who resettled in South Korea. The findings of the current study provide empirical evidence for the need of social interventions to mitigate adverse effects of stress on North Korean refugees who are subject to social discrimination on a daily basis.


In this study, we included 500 subjects among 2,138 North Korean refugees who took refuge in South Korea in 2007. The interview started from April 6th 2009 and finished on May 25th 2009. We conducted moderator effect analysis with Path analysis was conducted because we confirm the experience of discrimination was affected by life satisfaction and stress can affected life satisfaction as a moderator.


The experience of discrimination significantly affects stress and stress significantly affects life satisfaction. However, the experience of discrimination was not directly related to life satisfaction. The more stress the study respondents experienced, the lower the life satisfaction they reported.


The present finding suggests that the effects of discriminating experiences on the life satisfaction of North Korean refugees in South Korea were mediated by their own perceived stress.


Discrimination; Life satisfaction

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