Methods: This study analyzed data from a snowball sample of 212 adult NK refugee women (M = 44.93, SD = 10.79) living in South Korea. Three predictors of the MIDA model were operationalized with out-group social support (for psychological strength), attachment to NK culture (for co-national connectedness), and experience of racism (for hassles). The mediator were three acculturation strategies (integration, assimilation, separation). Two adaptation outcomes (maladaptation to host society, depression) were included as endogenous variables in the model. The Structural Equation Modeling with bootstrap sampling was conducted to test the mediation model. Measurement and structural model fit indices were evaluated.
Results: Results indicated that out-group social support is positively associated with integration (ꞵ=.54, p<.001) and assimilation (ꞵ=.34, p<.001). Second, attachment to NK culture is negatively associated with assimilation (ꞵ=-.45, p<.001), but positively associated with separation (ꞵ=.63, p<.001). Third, daily life experience of the racism is positively associated with assimilation (ꞵ=.16, p<.05). Fourth, integration is negatively associated with maladaptation to host society (ꞵ=-.44, p<.001) and depression (ꞵ=-.37, p<.001). Fifth, assimilation is positively associated with depression (ꞵ=.20, p<.05). Finally, separation is positively associated with maladaptation (ꞵ=.25, p<.01) and depression (ꞵ=.22, p<.05). To summarize, assimilation and separation strategy increased depression or maladaptation whereas integration promoted positive acculturation outcomes. Out-group social support and attachment to NK culture were the key predictors in this process.
Conclusion/Implications: Findings of this study showed that NK refugee women develop different acculturation strategies and outcomes. As expected, integration led to positive acculturation outcomes. On the contrary, assimilation and separation result in negative outcomes such as depression and maladaptation. The interesting finding to note was NK refugee women’s attachment to NK culture. Even though NK refugee women’s attitude toward NK culture resulted in different acculturation strategies (either assimilation to or separation from the SK society), acculturation outcomes of both strategies were negative. Thus, we need programs for refugee women who are held back to NK culture and hesitate to explore SK culture. Programs to build out-group social support for NK refugee women can be also helpful. At the same time, we need to create an environment where refugees and their cultural background can be valued and respected.