Korean J Psychosom Med.  2011 Jun;19(1):20-27.

Relationship between Physical Illness and Depression in North Korean Defectors

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Incheon, Korea. ewpsyche@hanmail.net
  • 2Incheon Metropolitan Mental Health Center, Incheon, Korea.

Abstract


OBJECTIVES
The present study aims to investigate the effects of physical illness on depression in North Korean Defectors.
METHODS
One hundred forty-four North Korean Defectors(20 males, 124 females) and 376 South Koreans 133 males, 243 females) in Incheon Metropolitan areas participated the present study. Face-to-face interview was conducted for demographic information including presence of physical illnesses. To investigate depressive symptoms, all participants were required to complete the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D).
RESULTS
After controlling gender, age, marital status, educational year, employment status and physical illness, North Korean Defectors showed higher CES-D score than South Koreans(beta=0.449, p<0.001). Within North Korean Defectors, the presence of physical illnesses independently was related to higher CES-D score(beta=0.243, p<0.001). However, within South Koreans, the presence of physical illnesses did not significantly predict CES-D score. North Korean Defectors with physical illness have higher CES-D score than North Korean Defectors without physical illness(26.8+/-13.8 versus 19.7+/-12.7). However, there was no significant differences of CES-D score between South Koreans with physical illness and South Koreans without physical illness(10.3+/-9.8 versus 9.3+/-8.8).
CONCLUSION
Compared to South Koreans, North Korean Defector showed higher depressive symptoms independently from gender, age, education, employment, marriage. In addition, only North Korean Defectors showed the relationship between depression and physical illness. Our study suggests that depression should be assessed when North Korean Defectors have physical illness.

Keyword

North Korean defector; Physical illness; Depression

MeSH Terms

Depression
Employment
Humans
Male
Marital Status
Marriage
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