Background: North Korean Refugee Women (NKRW) are at a high risk for suicide. However, few studies have examined risk factors for suicide among NKRW in South Korea. This study aimed to examine factors increasing risk for suicidal ideation and to identify factors differentiating suicide attempt from ideation among NKRW in South Korea. Methods: A sample of 140 NKRW was analyzed; multinomial logistic regression was conducted to identify factors distinguishing respondents with (1) no suicidal ideation, (2) isolated suicidal ideation (without attempts), and (3) ideation with attempts. Results: About 46% of the sample reported suicidal ideation, and about 18% attempted suicide during the past year. NKRW without any suicidal risk had significantly lower levels of social isolation (OR = 0.86, p = 0.02) and less exposure to traumatic events (OR = 0.89, p = 0.02) than those with suicidal ideation. NKRW who attempted suicide were more likely to have higher levels of stress than those with only suicidal ideation (OR = 1.40, p = 0.03). Conclusion: This study provides insights into suicide prevention among refugees and emphasized that post-migration life stress significantly differentiates suicidal ideation from attempt among NKRW. Intervening to address current life stress, traumatic experiences, and social isolation may help prevent refugee suicidal ideation and further attempt.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Psychiatry and Mental health