Mental Health Status of North Korean Refugees in South Korea and Risk and Protective Factors: A 10-Year Review of the Literature

By Lee, Yeeun; Lee, Minji et al. | European Journal of Psychotraumatology, January 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Mental Health Status of North Korean Refugees in South Korea and Risk and Protective Factors: A 10-Year Review of the Literature


Lee, Yeeun, Lee, Minji, Park, Subin, European Journal of Psychotraumatology


(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

1.Introduction

The number of North Korean refugees (NKRs) who have settled in South Korea exceeded 30,000 in 2016 (Ministry of Unification, 2017). The population consists of individuals across a wide age range, particularly young and middle-aged adults, with an approximate women's ratio of 0.8. According to the census data, the most frequent drives for their defection include food shortage, economic difficulty, and political repression or threat in North Korea, and family accompaniment in South Korea (Korea Hana Foundation, 2017). In most cases, NKRs take an escape route through a third country to reach South Korea, mainly Southeast Asian countries or China (Haggard & Marcus, 2006), and about 70% of NKRs reported to have stayed in the third country, half of whom stayed more than five years (Korea Hana Foundation, 2017).

Similar to other refugee populations (Fazel, Wheeler, & Danesh, 2005; Hollifield, Warner, & Lian et al., 2002), NKRs are often exposed to traumatic events while in North Korea and during their escape (Jeon, Yu, Cho, & Eom, 2008). Even after a successful escape, they tend to experience difficulties in adapting to the unfamiliar culture of the country in which they settle (Jeon, Min, Lee, & Lee, 1997). For instance, a quarter of NKRs who settled in South Korea reported experiencing discrimination, mostly due to cultural differences in language use, lifestyle, and attitudes (Korea Hana Foundation, 2017). Therefore, NKRs might be a mentally vulnerable group. Although an increasing number of studies have examined the mental health of NKRs, to our knowledge, there have been no systematic reviews integrating the existing knowledge of this topic. Thus, in an effort to produce such an integrative understanding, we reviewed prior studies on the mental health status of NKRs and the associated risk and protective factors. We could not conduct a meta-analysis because of the methodological and clinical heterogeneity of the studies. Thus, we instead systematically searched the studies using particular selection criteria, summarized the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms among NKRs, and identified consistent risk and protective factors. This study first categorized a wide array of risk and protective factors into environmental and personal factors, and further divided the environmental factors according to the different phases of the refugee experience into pre- and post-settlement factors, as has been done in other review studies of refugee populations (Lustig et al., 2004; Porter & Haslam, 2005).

2.Methods

2.7. Inclusion and exclusion criteria

We included quantitative studies using new empirical data on the mental health of NKRs in South Korea. We selected studies published in the last 10 years, with a minimum sample size of 25. As such, qualitative studies, reviews, and unpublished findings were excluded from our review. Furthermore, we excluded studies on physical health, efficacy of intervention, general adaptation, and the development and validation of psychological assessments. We searched only for studies written in English or Korean.

2.2.Search strategy

We searched for empirical studies conducted in the last 10 years in six online databases (international journals: Embase, PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science; Korean journals: DBpia, KMbase) that are published up to June 2017. As search terms, we used the combinations of keywords relating to mental health (psychiatr·, psycholog·, mental, anxiety, depression, trauma, traumatic, psychosocial, wellbeing, recovery, resilience, adjustment, adaptation, emotion, and behavior) and North Korean refugees (North Korean defector and North Korean refugee) in each database language. The search strategy was adjusted for each database. With these search terms, 513 studies were initially identified. After excluding duplicate or irrelevant studies by reviewing titles and abstracts, a total of 56 studies were ultimately included (Figure 1). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Mental Health Status of North Korean Refugees in South Korea and Risk and Protective Factors: A 10-Year Review of the Literature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.