South Koreans most depressed in world after spouse’s death
While the scale used to measure level of depression in this recent study rose for South Koreans, it dropped for the Chinese
By Eom Da-sol
South Koreans suffered the highest level of depression in the world when their spouses died, according to a survey published in the March issue of the Journals of Gerontology.
University of Michigan Prof. Apoorva Jadhav conducted a depression test before and after a spouse’s death on people over 55 in the U.S., the U.K., Europe, China and Korea.
She selected people who lost their spouse from participants in her previous longitudinal study on depression conducted from 2010 to 2012. Subjects from the previous study included 6,637 Americans, 2,740 Britons, 5,811 Europeans, 7,834 Chinese and 3,813 Koreans. She examined how the loss of a spouse affected mental illness on a scale from 0 to 10.
Prof. Jadhav’s survey showed that Koreans’ level of depression rose from 3.49 to 5.07 after losing a spouse.
Depression after a loss also jumped among Americans (from 1.25 to 1.86), Britons (from 1.57 to 2.11) and Europeans (from 2.75 to 3.60). But the Chinese figure dropped from 4.24 to 3.75.
Prof. Jadhav said in the journal: “The survey stated how people feel about the death of their spouse in numbers, which also showed the evident difference among the countries.”
“There is a need for a further study on the measures to relieve the emotional pain when people lose their precious half.”