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


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

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


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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