Year: 2023 Source: Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. (2021), 51(6), SIEC No: 20230002

Suicide among North Korean (NK) refugee women is one of the most concerning public health problems in South Korea. Pre-resettlement trauma exposure and post-resettlement factors can contribute to suicide risk among NK refugee women; however, few studies have explored these associations.
This study aimed to assess suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among NK refugee women in South Korea (N = 212) and to examine the impact of pre-resettlement trauma exposure on suicide risk. Perceived social stigma and self-concealment in the post-resettlement phases were investigated as moderating factors for suicide risk related to trauma exposure using multiple regression analyses.
Trauma exposure significantly increased suicidal ideation severity and the risk of suicide attempt. Furthermore, perceived social stigma significantly moderated this relationship such that the impact of trauma exposure in the pre-resettlement phases was amplified as perceived social stigma increased.
Based on our study findings, professionals working with refugee populations should assess for perceived social stigma and exposure to traumatic events to reduce and prevent suicidal ideation and attempts.