Abstract: Identifying Communication Campaign Messages to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence Among Korean American Immigrants (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

Identifying Communication Campaign Messages to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence Among Korean American Immigrants

Friday, January 14, 2022
Liberty Ballroom K, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
* noted as presenting author
Y. Joon Choi, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Athens, GA
Jeong-Yeob Han, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Georgia, GA
Hanyoung Kim, MA, Ph.D. Student, University of Georgia, GA
Soon Cho, MSW, Social Worker, University of Georgia, GA
Pamela Orpinas, PhD, Professor, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Background and Purpose: Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects all communities. However, more immigrant women suffer from IPV than the national average, including Korean immigrant women. The importance of family harmony, the priority of family interests over individual interests, and the cultural expectation for women to endure hardship to preserve the family contribute to the decision of Korean immigrant women to stay in abusive relationships and keep IPV secret. Therefore, changing community norms that tolerate IPV and increase support for survivors is necessary. The objectives of this study were to 1) identify the messages for IPV prevention and perceived and practical barriers for seeking help for IPV, and 2) assess the acceptability of these messages among Korean American immigrants to develop a communication campaign.

Methods: For Objective 1, we conducted four gender and age-specific focus groups, with 10 participants per group (N = 40), in a large city in Southeast US. We invited participants through Korean churches, senior centers, and snowballing. We conducted the focus groups in a Korean immigrant church, a Korean restaurant meeting room, and via Zoom (after the COVID19 pandemic started). Four co-authors who are native Korean speakers facilitated focus groups in Korean. Focus groups lasted about 90 minutes and were either audio- or video-recorded. For Objective 2, we developed 20 messages focusing on IPV prevention and barriers to help-seeking based on the results of four focus groups. Framing theory and Four Ps for social marketing theory informed the development of messages. We tested the messages for their acceptability in changing community norms around IPV and increasing survivors’ help-seeking with a convenience sample of Korean Americans (N = 54). The online survey (due to the COVID19) took 5-10 minutes to complete.

Results: The messages with high acceptability rates framed leaving the abuse as courageous for the survivors and their children (e.g., “My courage is not enduing the abuse; my courage is to love myself and know I deserve better” & “My courage is not staying for my children; my courage is having an abuse-free home for my children”). The messages that received low acceptability rates focused on learning about healthy family relationships (“Thank you, honey! Our kids and I are so proud of you! If you would like to learn more about healthy family relationships, go to http://www.upcomingwebsite.com” & “How do healthy, unhealthy, and abusive relationships differ? Find more information at http://www.upcomingwebsite.com”).

Conclusion: These results are the foundation for the second phase of a community-researcher co-development of a public health communication campaign. The findings illustrate that messages informed by framing theory and cultural tailoring may be fruitful options for changing community norms around IPV and help-seeking among Korean American immigrants. In contrast, information presentation messages may be less effective. Further exploration of message content (what to say), form (how to say it), and delivery (where to say it) is necessary to develop an effective communication campaign.