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      The Mental Health Status and Intellectual Ability of Unwed Mothers Dwelling in Korean Shelter Homes


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          Although many unwed mothers have issues concerning mental health and intellectual ability, little research has focused on their mental and cognitive status. Due to the public stigma attached to unwed mothers in South Korea, they tend to conceal their status and are less likely to seek psychiatric and psychological help. In this context, this study aims to assess the current status of their mental health and intellectual characteristics. A total of 48 unwed mothers from two shelter homes in South Korea agreed to participate in the study. We compared the mental health status of these unwed mothers with that of the general female population. Unwed mothers were more likely than those of the general female population to have mood disorders, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol and nicotine use disorders, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Among the 48 unwed mothers, 20 (41.7%) had an IQ of less than 70, and the mean IQ (78.31) was significantly lower than the normalized mean IQ of the general female population. This study confirmed that unwed mothers dwelling in Korean shelter homes are more likely than the general female population to have mental disorders.

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              Psychiatric reports of 179 children aged 2 to 15 who were exposed to the Buffalo Creek dam collapse in 1972 were rated for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms 2 years after the disaster. Age and gender effects and the impact of the level of exposure and parental functioning were examined according to a conceptual model addressing factors contributing to adaptation to a traumatic event. Results showed fewer PTSD symptoms in the youngest age group and higher symptom levels for girls than boys. Approximately 37% of the children were given a "probable" diagnosis of PTSD. Multiple regression analysis showed that life threat, gender, parental psychopathology, and an irritable and/or depressed family atmosphere all contributed to the prediction of PTSD symptomatology in the children.

                Author and article information

                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                30 March 2018
                April 2018
                : 15
                : 4
                [1 ]Department of Psychiatry, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 07061, Korea; suyeon.jo@ 123456daum.net (S.J.); jung830313@ 123456hanmail.net (H.J.C.); pavv_@ 123456naver.com (J.Y.L.)
                [2 ]Department of Education, Sejong University, Seoul 05006, Korea; swpark@ 123456emocog.com
                [3 ]Department of Art Therapy & Counseling Psychology, Cha University, Gyeonggi-do 11160, Korea; jung_et@ 123456naver.com
                [4 ]Department of Psychiatry, Inje University Sanggye Paik Hospital, Seoul 01757, Korea; bksohn1221@ 123456daum.net
                [5 ]Public Health Medical Service, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 07061, Korea
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: jylee2000@ 123456gmail.com (J.Y.L.); benji@ 123456snu.ac.kr (J.-Y.L.); Tel.: +82-2-870-2165 (J.Y.L.); +82-2-870-2462 (J.-Y.L.)
                © 2018 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


                Public health

                unwed mother, mental health, intellectual ability, korea


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