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Factors Affecting Depressive Symptoms Among North Korean Adolescent Refugees Residing in South Korea

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Factors Affecting Depressive Symptoms Among North Korean Adolescent Refugees Residing in South Korea

Subin Park et al. Int J Environ Res Public Health.

Abstract

We examined factors affecting the depressive symptoms and the relationship between depression and quality of life among 131 North Korean adolescent refugees aged 12-24 years. We compared sociodemographic, social, and individual characteristics and perceived the quality of life between participants with and without depression. Thirty-seven refugees (28.2%) had clinically significant depressive symptoms. The refugees with depression were younger (t = 2.67; p = 0.009), more likely to be male (χ² = 6.98; p = 0.009), and more likely to have a Chinese father (χ² = 9.05; p = 0.003) than those without depression. The refugees with depression had lower levels of psychological social support (t = 2.96; p = 0.004) and resilience (t = 4.24; p < 0.001) and higher levels of alcohol problems (t = -2.08; p = 0.043), aggression (t = -3.15; p = 0.003), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD; t = -2.89; p = 0.004). They also reported lower levels of life satisfaction (t = 3.31; p = 0.001) and had a more negative view of their future (t = 2.68; p = 0.010). Interventions to increase resilience, to decrease the impact of traumatic events, and to provide psychological support may be helpful for North Korean adolescent refugees at risk of depression.

Keywords: North Korean adolescent refugees; depression; protective factor; risk factor.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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