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Factors Related to Change in Depression Among North Korean Refugee Youths in South Korea


Factors Related to Change in Depression Among North Korean Refugee Youths in South Korea

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


This study investigated change in depression and revealed factors related to change using one-year follow-up data. A sample of 108 North Korean Refugee Youths (NKRYs) aged 13 to 26 years (66 females) was recruited from two alternative schools for NKRYs in South Korea. Based on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale cut-off score of 16, respondents were grouped based on change in depression score after one year as stable low, alleviated, deteriorated, or prolonged. Multinomial logistic regression assessed the influence of baseline psychological scores (resilience, emotional regulation strategy, and self-esteem), and reported social support (psychological/practical) on the odds of group classification. With the stable low group as the reference category, those with alleviated depression at Time 2 had significantly higher odds of expressive suppression and tended to have lower self-esteem at Time 1. The deteriorated depression group was more likely than the stable low group to have lower resilience and cognitive appraisal scores. Those with prolonged high depression were more likely than the stable low group to have lower resilience, less practical social support, and lower self-esteem. Psychological interventions, particularly those focused on increasing self-esteem and resilience, could be helpful for NKRYs with potential risk of depression. In addition, practical support should be provided on an as-needed basis to prevent chronic depression among NKRYs.

Keywords: North Korean Refugee Youths; depression; protective factors; resilience theory.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to publish the results.

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