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Psychiatry Investigation 2005;2(1):22-7.
Epidemiology of Depressive Disorders in Korea
Maeng Je Cho, MD, PhD1; and Jun Young Lee, MD2;
1;Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, 2;Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Boramae Hospital, Seoul, Korea
Abstract

Prevalence rates of major depression between 3.5-4% and those of depressive symptoms were between 7.4-38.9% in Korea. The low rates of major depression and the high rates of depressive symptoms seem to be due to different response attitude to the interviewer and self-reporting instrument, which could be explained by Confucian cultural influence in Korea. Depressive mood, loss of interest, insomnia and fatigue were common symptoms in persons with major depression. The symptom profiles of major depression were not different from those of western countries. The prevalence rates of major depression in the elderly of Korea were high. These high rates may be related with recent sociocultural stresses in the elderly of Korea. Risk factors of major depression were woman, old age, recent cohort, disrupted marriage, low socioeconomic status and rural residence. Old age and rural residence are rarely reported as risk factors in other countries. Academic failure was an important correlate in adolescent depression. Course, disability and service use were rarely reported in persons with major depression in Korea.

Key words   Depression, Prevalence rate, Korea


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