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A 7-Year Follow-Up Study on the Mental Health of North Korean Defectors in South Korea

Authors


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Sung Kil Min, Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 250 Seongsan-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, 120-752, Republic of Korea. E-mail: skmin518@yuhs.ac

Abstract

This study was conducted to describe the relationship of past trauma and current stress on the mental health of North Korean (NK) defectors living in South Korea 7 years after a baseline assessment. Of the 200 who participated in the initial study, 106 participated in follow-up. Previous data regarding past traumatic events experienced in North Korea and during defection, past posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and their current stress levels were correlated with the participants’ current mental health status including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The rate of PTSD in the sample and the scores on the PTSD symptom scale decreased significantly from the baseline. The participants’ current mental health was negatively related to previous traumatic experiences in North Korea and past symptoms of PTSD, but unrelated to previous trauma experienced during defection. In addition, although current mental health was negatively related to only current culture-related stress, it was unrelated to the level of current ordinary life stress. The results of this study suggest that PTSD symptoms decreased during the 7 years between assessments, and that current culture-related stress is the most important variable related to the mental health of NK defectors living in South Korea.

Traditional and Simplified Chinese Abstracts by AsianSTSS

標題:南韓七年隨訪硏究:北韓叛逃者的精神健康

撮要:本硏究記述居住在南韓的北韓(NK) 叛逃者在基綫評估七年後精神健康的現時壓力與往日創傷之間的關係。開始時有200名人士參與而只有160位在七年後接受再評估。在北韓居住時期和叛逃時期的創傷事件,往日創傷後壓力症(PTSD)和現在壓力水平與他們現時精神健康狀況(包括抑鬱、焦慮和PTSD)有關連。對比基綫,七年後樣本的PTSD患病率及PTSD症狀量表得分都有顯着減少。往日北韓創傷經歷和往日PTSD症狀,與參與者的現時精神健康有負面關連,但叛逃時創傷卻沒有關連。雖然現時精神健康與現時文化相關壓力呈負面關連,但與現時日常生活壓力卻未有關連。本硏究展示PTSD症在七年間有下降現象,而現時文化相關壓力在居住南韓的NK叛逃者現時精神健康中為最重要的變量。

标题:南韩七年随访硏究:北韩叛逃者的精神健康

撮要:本硏究记述居住在南韩的北韩(NK) 叛逃者在基线评估七年后精神健康的现时压力与往日创伤之间的关系。开始时有200名人士参与而只有160位在七年后接受再评估。在北韩居住时期和叛逃时期的创伤事件,往日创伤后压力症(PTSD)和现在压力水平与他们现时精神健康状况(包括抑郁、焦虑和PTSD)有关连。对比基线,七年后样本的PTSD患病率及PTSD症状量表得分都有显着减少。往日北韩创伤经历和往日PTSD症状,与参与者的现时精神健康有负面关连,但叛逃时创伤却没有关连。虽然现时精神健康与现时文化相关压力呈负面关连,但与现时日常生活压力却未有关连。本硏究展示PTSD症在七年间有下降现象,而现时文化相关压力在居住南韩的NK叛逃者现时精神健康中为最重要的变量。

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