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Related Factors of Suicidal Ideation Among North Korean Refugee Youth in South Korea

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Related Factors of Suicidal Ideation Among North Korean Refugee Youth in South Korea

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

Abstract

This study investigated the factors associated with suicidal ideation among 174 North Korean refugees (aged 13⁻27 years) residing in South Korea. Specifically, we compared sociodemographic, familial, social, and psychological characteristics between participants with and without suicidal ideation. Twenty-nine refugees (16.7%) had exhibited suicidal ideation in the past 12 months. These refugees had significantly lower levels of familial cohesion (U = 1459.0; p < 0.001), self-esteem (U = 1032.0; p < 0.001), and resilience (U = 1190.0; p < 0.001), as well as higher levels of expressional suppression (U = 1202.5; p < 0.001) and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms (U = 1303.0; p = 0.001), (with Cohen's d > 0.5), compared to those without suicidal ideation. A multiple logistic regression analysis showed that the level of emotional suppression and familial cohesion were significantly associated with suicidal ideation, after controlling for the other variables. Familial and individual interventions, particularly those focused on encouraging emotional expression and familial cohesion, will be useful for North Korean refugee youth, who have a high risk of suicide.

Keywords: adolescent; protective factor; refugee; risk factor.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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