Perceived Trajectories of Past, Present, and Future Life Satisfaction of North Korean Defectors
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This study compared perceived trajectories of life satisfaction (LS) between North Korean defectors’ (NKDs’) and the general South Korean population and examined psychosocial factors associated with future LS. Data were obtained from 300 NKDs residing in South Korea and 5089 South Koreans using self-questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. LS values from 5 years ago (3.46 vs. 6.18) and at present (5.30 vs. 5.91) were lower in NKDs than the control group, but the inverse was true for expected LS score in 5 years (7.82 vs. 6.87). NKDs’ LS trajectory showed a more statistically positive trend than that of the control group. Among NKDs, subjective sense of loneliness and satisfaction with one’s sense of autonomy were associated with expected future LS. NKDs experience higher life satisfaction and expect an optimistic future relative to the control group. Social policies and therapeutic approaches to loneliness and improving a sense of autonomy may be beneficial.
KeywordsAcculturation Immigrant Life satisfaction North Korean defectors
Brief Resilience Scale
WHO-Composite International Diagnostic Interview
Korean version of the WHO-Composite International Diagnostic Interview
Probability proportional to size without replacement
Connor–Davidson Resilience Scale
World Health Organization
We would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea for their support of data collection.
This work was supported by the Korea Healthcare Technology R&D project, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Republic of Korea [HM15C1072].
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Written informed consent was obtained from all participants before conducting self questionnaires and face-to-face interviews. This study was conducted with the approval of institutional review board, the Samsung Seoul Hospital Clinical Research Committee.
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