Information-Seeking within Negative Affect: Lessons from North Korean Refugees' Everyday Information Practices within PTSD

  • Koo, Joung Hwa (Department of Library, Archive and Information Studies, Pusan National University)
  • Received : 2016.01.22
  • Accepted : 2016.02.02
  • Published : 2016.02.29


The study examines how stressful life experiences and negative affective conditions influence refugees' information seeking and uses. Fifty-five North Korean refugees living in South Korea were invited to participate in a survey to determine their level of PTSD and to investigate the relationship between activeness in information-seeking and their negative affect. Seven subjects with severe PTSD symptoms participated in an in-depth interview to describe their information practices in daily life contexts. The study found that participants with higher levels of PTSD tended to seek information more passively than those with lower levels of PTSD. Almost all refugees were unable to recognize their information needs clearly but some subjects stated latent socio-affective needs and financial needs. Most refugees avoided seeking information and learned information through interpersonal sources-staffs in the Hana Refugee Center and volunteers in local community churches-and mass media. Some unique social phenomena were discovered in North Korean refugees' information world and the emergent features were discussed. On the basis of the findings, some practical approaches for improving refugees' information world were also suggested.


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