Psychiatry Investig.  2022 Feb;19(2):117-124. 10.30773/pi.2021.0192.

Decreased Health-Seeking Behaviors in People With Depressive Symptoms: The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2014, 2016, and 2018

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, KARF St. Mary’s Hospital, The Korean Alcohol Research Foundation, Goyang, Republic of Korea


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of depressive symptoms on health-seeking behaviors using the large epidemiological study data of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination (KNHANES).
Data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES), which is a large-scale national survey, were used in this study. The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) was used to assess the depressive state of the participants. Specialized self-reported questionnaires that included questions about health-seeking behaviors were also performed. To examine the relationships between depression and health-seeking behaviors, complex sample logistic regression models with control for covariates were used.
There was a significant association between decreased health-seeking behaviors and depressive symptoms in adults (odds ratio [OR]: 3.11, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.44–3.96). The association was found to be especially strong in males (OR: 2.63, 95% CI: 1.69–4.10) versus in females (OR: 2.49, 95% CI: 1.90–3.27). With regard to age group, younger adults (19–44 years of age) showed the highest OR (OR: 3.07, 95% CI: 2.12–4.45).
Our findings support the idea that there is a significant association between health-seeking behaviors and depressive symptoms in the Korean population. These results suggest that individuals with decreased health-seeking behaviors could be evaluated for depressive symptoms.


Health-seeking behaviors; Depressive symptoms; Medical illness; KNHANES
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