PURPOSE: Korean women are likely to experience symptoms of depression, possibly due to socially fixed limitations on the roles that Korean women are expected to perform. Also if a Korean woman experiences negative relationship problem or stress in her family, she would feel responsible, which will worsen her depression. Nonetheless, much of the research on depression among Korean women has focused on menopausal women. This study aims to understand the depression of Korean women to provide fundamental data to develop nursing intervention method for promoting women's health. METHODS: The present investigation assessed the prevalence and correlates of depression in a large sample of Korean women, aged 18 or older, from the general population. With a probability sample of 3312 women drawn from two areas in Korea, a survey, which contains the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) and background, was completed. RESULTS: According to CES-D classification criteria, 36.5% of the women in the sample displayed either no depression or mild depression, 55.6% exhibited moderate depression, and 7.8% manifested severe depression. Significant bivariate relationships were observed between depression and each measured background variable except alcohol use. Logistic regression analysis indicated that the strongest combination of predictors of depression included income, menopausal, and marital status. CONCLUSION: The data support the premise that Korean women disproportionately experience elevated levels of depression. Consistent with the theory, depression may be related to social pressures to conform to the traditional roles. The study suggests the need for further research, primary prevention activities, and increased access to treatment.
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