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Research output on mental health problems in North Korea between 2006 and 2017: A bibliographic analysis of North Korean medical journal articles

 Hae Won Kim  ;  Woo Taek Jeon 
 ASIAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY, Vol.53 : 102228, 2020-10 
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Bibliography ; Journal article ; Mental disorders ; North Korea ; Somatoform disorders
Despite the continuing interests in political, economic, and public health issues of North Korea, little is known about mental health problems in North Korea. To gain a glimpse into this area of interest, we aimed to explore the characteristics of mental health research in North Korea and to identify the emphasis therein. In this context, four North Korean medical journals were selected from the Information Center on North Korea, with publication dates 2006-2017 (inclusive). For this bibliographic study's scope, we targeted studies on psychiatric problems in humans. We first selected articles based on their titles, and then finalized the study sample after reviewing the full text of primary sample articles. For main outcome measures, we used the absolute number and proportion of mental health research articles relative to total publications and the distribution of papers by research themes as defined by ICD-10 categories. Collectively, four journals published 162 mental health research articles from 2006 to 2017. The yearly volume and proportion varied between two and twenty-four and between 0.3 % and 2.7 %, respectively. The most frequently addressed ICD-10 category was F40-48, namely 'Neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders,' and the most frequently investigated condition was somatoform disorders. In conclusion, there has been a slow but steady increase in the research volume of psychiatry and mental health problems since 2011. The finding that the highest amount of research was conducted on somatoform disorders may suggest that mental disorder symptoms may be represented differently under the influence of socialism in North Korea.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Medical Education (의학교육학과) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Hae Won(김혜원) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9321-8361
Jeon, Woo Taek(전우택) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9213-6057
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