Abstract: Controlling Behaviors, Intimate Partner Violence, Depression, and Social Adaptation Among Immigrant Women in South Korea (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

Controlling Behaviors, Intimate Partner Violence, Depression, and Social Adaptation Among Immigrant Women in South Korea

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 14, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Hyun Lee, MSW, PhD Student, Yonsei University
Jae Yop Kim, PhD, Professor, Yonsei University
Lkhamkhuu Munkhnaran, PhD Student, Yonsei University
Boyoung Nam, MSW, PhD Candidate, University of Maryland Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSEThe number of immigrant women in South Korea has been increasing due to the influx of marriage immigrants from other Asian countries. Although limited, some prior research implied that marriage immigrant women in South Korea may have difficulties in social adaptation due to controlling and violence perpetrated by their husbands. However, there are few empirical studies examining this association. The purpose of this study was to understand the prevalence of controlling behavior, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), depression, and difficulties in social adaptation among immigrant women in South Korea, and to examine the pathways from controlling behaviors to difficulties in social adaptation.

MEDHODSA subsample from the 2010 Nationwide Survey on Domestic Violence in South Korea was used for this study. Study participants were recruited from multicultural family support centers in South Korea. The surveys were written in three languages (i.e., Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese) and administered with assistance from staff at the multifamily support centers.The final analytic sample included 296 respondents out of 307 participants due to significant missing in their data. Controlling behaviors were measured with the controlling behaviors checklist in the WHO Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women (World Health Organization, 2005). IPV was measured with the revised Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS2, Straus et al., 1996). Depression was measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D, Radloff, 1977). Difficulties in socialadaptation were measured with two measures: the socio-cultural problem in settlements measure (Chang & Kim, 2002) and the social integration scale (Kim, 2007). Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to examine associations between controlling behavior, IPV, depression, and difficulties in social adaptation. Indirect pathways to socioal adaptation from controlling behavior via IPV and depression were examined using the bootstrapping method.

RESULTSAbout one in two immigrant women in this study experienced controlling behavior by their husband and one in three experienced IPV. Over 40% of immigrant women were identified to have a clinical level depression. Results showed that controlling behavior was significantly associated with IPV (β= .557, p< .001) and depression (β= .222, p < .01), but controlling behaviors by husbands were not directly associated with respondents’ difficulties in social adaptation. Instead, significant indirect paths from controlling behaviors to difficulties in social adaptation were found: 1) controlling behaviors → depression → difficulties in social adaptation; 2) controlling behavior → IPV →depression → difficulties social adaptation.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONSFindings of the study implied social adaptation of marriage immigrant women in South Korea can be impeded due to victimization from IPV and controlling behaviors from their husbands. We suggested that professionals working with immigrant women should explore the signs of victimization from controlling behaviors and IPV. Depression should be also treated to help victimized immigrant women’s social adaptation in the host country.