South Korean Women 18-29 Face Increased Risk of Mental Disorders

John Kim, May 24, 2016, 11:12 a.m.

The number of women in their 20s who are suffering from mental disorders has increased significantly in recent years. Jeon Jin-ah, a researcher from the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHSA), revealed Tuesday that the prevalence of mood disorders in women between 18 and 29 years of age has increased from 2.8 percent in 2001 to 6.1 percent in 2011. Mood disorders refer to a combination of depressive and bipolar disorders.

The percentage of people who experienced an anxiety disorder in the past year also increased for the same group from 9.1 percent in 2001 to 12.6 percent in 2011. Anxiety disorders refer to OCD, PTSD, panic disorders, and agoraphobia combined. The ‘one-year prevalence of mental disorders’, which puts together all mental disorders, also increased for women between 18 and 29 from 16.1 to 20.1 percent during the same period. 

No clear changes in rate or percentage were found in other gender or age groups. “The increasing number of women who become more socially active, and the abrupt changes that women go through – such as employment, marriage, and pregnancy – are believed to be the major factors affecting young women’s mental health,” said Jeon. The full research findings were published in the KIHSA’s May edition of Korean Women’s Mental Health in Numbers.


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