Support from superiors reduces depression in Republic of Korea military officers

Seon Yeong Woo, H. J. Kim, B. R. Kim, H. C. Ahn, B. N. Jang, E. C. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background The prevalence of depression is relatively high in the Korean military. Social support is a protective factor against depression and is classified into four categories: emotional support - having the sense of feeling loved; instrumental support - receiving material assistance; informational support - receiving advice; appraisal support - feeling valued and respected for one's abilities. Objective To investigate the effect of support from one's superior on depression among Republic of Korea (ROK) military officers. Methods 2047 participants from the 2015 Military Health Survey were included in the study. The Korean version of the Beck Depression Inventory was used to measure depression, and a self-reported questionnaire was used to assess support from one's superior. A chi-squared test and multiple logistic regression were used to analyse the data. Results Of the 2047 participants, 177 (8.6%) had depression. Military officers who did not receive support from their superior were more likely to have depression than than those who did receive support (OR=2.09, 95% CI 1.30 to 3.36). Additionally, military personnel who did not receive emotional or appraisal support were more likely to have depression (emotional support: OR=2.37, 95% CI 1.31 to 4.29; appraisal support: OR=1.56, 95% CI 1.48 to 2.75). Conclusions Our study found that depression in military officers was associated with lack of support from superiors. In particular, emotional support and appraisal support had a statistically significant effect. Therefore, we suggest that the ROK armed forces consider early intervention and management for high-risk groups. A social support programme and organisational atmosphere are also needed to improve supportive ability and skills of superiors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)378-382
Number of pages5
JournalBMJ Military Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
No support from a Support from a superior superior

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Authors

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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