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J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc. 2008 May;47(3):286-291. Korean. Original Article.
Ryu V , Seok JH , Kim HS , Kim BH , Yoo KJ .
Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Hallym University College of Medicine, Anyang, Korea.
Department of Clinical Psychology, Severance Mental Health Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Gwangju, Korea.
Kim Byoung-Hoo Psychiatry Clinic, Seoul, Korea.

OBJECTIVES: Separation and reunion is common experiences in our life but enduring unwanted early-life separation from family members may be a distressful event. This study was executed to observe emotional resolution in the subjects who eagerly desire and experience reunion with their families after long-lasting separation. METHODS: Thirty subjects who have participated in the reunion program of the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) from April 2005 to July 2005 were interviewed to assess their demographic characteristics and memories about separation. Their anxiety and depressive mood were assessed using Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale before the family reunion. At the time of the reunion, psychological states of 14 participants who were able to meet their family members were assessed again using the same assessment tools and the follow-up assessment was performed for one possible case at 7 months after the reunion. RESULTS: The depression and anxiety levels of most subjects were significantly decreased after the reunion. Standardized T scores of their state-anxiety were mostly in abnormal range before the reunion but most of their anxiety levels were reduced within normal range after the reunion. Duration of education was negatively correlated with trait-anxiety level and duration of separation respectively even though trait-anxiety levels were not directly correlated with duration of separation. Emotional acceptability about childhood separation tended to contribute to the increased anxiety level. CONCLUSION: This is the first study to assess psychological distresses of the Korean people who have suffered from longlasting separation with their families. The results in this study suggest that the eagerly desired reunion after long-lasting separation from family may have a resolutive effect for emotional distress. Further study will be needed for larger population suffering from early-life separation.

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