Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 466–472 | Cite as

Pre-migration Trauma, Repatriation Experiences, and PTSD Among North Korean Refugees

  • Eunyoung Kim
  • Minwoo Yun
  • Jin Yong Jun
  • Woong-Sub ParkEmail author
Original Paper


Many studies on refugees suggested that refugees’ traumatic events associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it is unknown whether refugees’ PTSD was caused by their negative experience before or after the entry of their destination country. Thus, a separation of refugees’ pre-migration from their post-migration experience is particularly important in understanding the causal impact of trauma. Using a sample from North Korean refugees, this study investigates the prevalence of PTSD symptoms, the impact of tortured trauma, repatriation experiences, on PTSD among North Korean refugees (n = 698). We found that North Korean refugees in our sample (a) demonstrated a high rate of current probable PTSD; (b) were demonstrated a higher frequency of repatriation experiences with a greater risk for PTSD symptoms. The findings suggest that particular types of trauma for populations with particular socio-demographic characteristics may be at a greater risk of PTSD.


North Korean refugee Pre-migration trauma Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms Repatriation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicting interest declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eunyoung Kim
    • 1
  • Minwoo Yun
    • 2
  • Jin Yong Jun
    • 3
  • Woong-Sub Park
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Police AdministrationCatholic Kwandong UniversityGangneungSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Police Science and Security StudiesGachon UniversitySungnamSouth Korea
  3. 3.National Center for Mental HealthSeoulSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, College of MedicineCatholic Kwandong UniversityGangneungSouth Korea

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