Gender differences in suicidal ideation and related factors among North Korean refugees in South Korea

Jin Won Noh, Hyunchun Park, Young Dae Kwon, In Hye Kim, Yo Han Lee, Yoon Jung Kim, Sin Gon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective According to previous social survey, a high number of North Korean refugees (NKRs) in South Korea had suicidal ideation. The purpose of this study is to examine the related factors for suicidal ideation among NKRs by gender in South Korea. Methods We examined the sample of NKRs, 701 subjects (men=160, women=-541) residing in South Korea, the participants were enrolled from October 2008 to May 2014. The related factors with suicidal ideation in NKRs were analyzed via a logistic regression analysis. Results Refugee women were more likely to have suicidal ideation than men were. Although thoughts of suicide do not necessarily mean that they will follow through, however, there is an association that the higher rate of suicide also results in a higher rate of attempted suicide. In both genders, they tended to think more frequently about suicide who had stayed in South Korea for more than 5 years. In addition, higher frequencies of suicidal ideation also associated with higher level of perceived stress in both genders. Conclusion The gender difference should be addressed when designing suicide prevention interventions among the North Korean population in South Korea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-769
Number of pages8
JournalPsychiatry Investigation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant of the Korean Mental Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HM15C1054).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Korean Neuropsychiatric Association.


  • Gender differences
  • North Korean refugees
  • Suicidal ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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