The Exploration on Traumatic Experiences of North Korean Defectors

2096 WordsJul 15, 20189 Pages
North Korea is one of the few countries that maintain communist system in the world. After Kim Il-Sung died in 1994, who was a dictator for nearly 50 years, the North Korean government has lost its power on the people. Since then, communist system has collapsed and economic crisis has been aggravated. Also the food crisis in 1990s caused famine across the country. For these reasons, a lot of North Korean people have tried to escape from their home country or hide themselves in China. The number of North Korean defectors has been greatly increasing; those who settled in South Korea were estimated more than 15,000 in 2008; those who arrived in China reached over 100,000 (Goodfriends, 2000; Korean Ministry of Unification, 2008). However, it…show more content…
They are differentiated from immigrant populations who move to other countries voluntarily. For this reason, refugees often experience higher level of stress and difficulties in new societies than other migrant populations (Schweitzer, Melville, Steel, & Lacherez, 2006). Thus, mental health of refugees, which has been influenced by past experiences, is important for successful adaptation and settlement (Jeon et al., 2005; Cardozo, Vergara, Agani, & Gotway, 2000). Silove (1999) documented mental health problems of refugees, including high levels of posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depression and lesser extent of other mental health issues such as psychosomatic disorders and grief-related disorders. In a study on mental health of resettled Sudanese refugees, Schweitzer et al. (2006) indicated that 25% of refugee participants reported high levels of psychological distress. Similarly, Carswell, Blackburn, & Barker (2009) reported that post-migration difficulties were significantly related to PTSD and emotional distress among refugees and asylum-seekers. North Korean Defectors’ Mental Health related to Familial and Cultural Issues North Korean defectors who entered South Korea live in ‘Hanawon’ at first, a government-organized educational facility for helping North Korean defectors settle in South Korea (Jeon et al., 2009). They are provided education for social adaptation for

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