The Pathway of Stress to Depressive Symptoms among Vietnamese Marriage Migrant Women in South Korea: An Empirical Study : 한국에 있는 베트남 결혼이주여성의 스트레스와 우울의 경로 연구

Cited 0 time in Web of Science Cited 0 time in Scopus
사회과학대학 사회복지학과
Issue Date
서울대학교 대학원
acculturative stressfamily life stresscoping behaviorsdepressive symptomsVietnamese marriage migrant women
학위논문 (박사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 사회복지학과, 2016. 2. 강상경.
The interest in immigration research has increased in Korea over the past two decades following the rising trend of international marriage between Korean males and foreign females. In particular, recently a great deal of attention has been paid to Vietnamese marriage migrant women because of their noticeably rapid increase and socioeconomic disadvantages due to low education and poor Korean proficiency. Considerable attempts have been made to identify difficulties and their effects on mental health in Vietnamese marriage migrant women. However, previous studies have mostly focused on such acculturative stress as language barriers and have not adequately treated the effect of family life stress on mental health among marriage migrants. The present study is an attempt to fill this gap by examining the impact of both acculturative stress and family life stress on depressive symptoms in Vietnamese marriage migrant women. Further, it is the fact that despite the established theoretical relationship between stress and depressive symptoms, there has been a paucity of research on coping behaviors which play a significant role on adaptation to the new culture among immigrants. When dealing with stressful situations in a new country, employing adaptive coping behaviors would help the migrants less vulnerable to mental health problems. Therefore, exploring how Vietnamese marriage migrant women cope with stress is significantly important to determine an appropriate approach for enhancing their psychosocial adjustment in Korea. This study, thus, has been conducted to investigate coping behaviors used by Vietnamese marriage migrant women in dealing with stresses in a community sample.

Specifically, I examined the direct and indirect effects of acculturative stress and family life stress on depressive symptoms through three types of coping behaviors (support seeking, problem solving, avoidance) used by Vietnamese marriage migrant women, using the stress and coping model and acculturation model as theoretical frameworks. The data used in this study were collected through a questionnaire survey distributed to 420 Vietnamese marriage migrant women residing in Seoul city, Gyeonggi, Gyeongsang, Chungcheong, and Jeolla provinces over two months of June and July, 2015. In sufficient data from 340 participants, data from 301 participants having children were used in the analysis as the aim of the study is to investigate the impact of multiple stresses, including child-related stress, on mental health among marriage migrant women. To test the research questions and hypotheses, I utilized the method of regression analysis. In addition, I used the MEDIATE program for SPSS, and bootstrap method developed by Hayes and Preacher to test multiple mediation of three types of coping behaviors. The research hypothesis tests results are summarized below.

First of all, the hypothesis in the first research question regarding the relationship between acculturative stress and depressive symptoms was supported as acculturative stress showed a significant positive effect on depressive symptoms. Specifically, a high level of acculturative stress was linked to higher levels of depressive symptoms among Vietnamese marriage migrant women in Korea.

Next, the hypothesis in the second research question concerning the relationship between family life stress and depressive symptoms was also supported as family life stress positively predicted depressive symptoms. Particularly, the study showed that family life stress had a similar effect to acculturative stress on depressive symptoms among Vietnamese women.

Finally, the hypotheses in the third research question involving the mediating effects of coping behaviors on the relationships between acculturative stress, and family life stress and depressive symptoms were partially supported as only the mediation of avoidance was found. Interestingly, only the effect of family life stress, but not acculturative stress, on depressive symptoms was partially mediated by avoidance behaviors. That is, a high level of family life stress was related to greater use of avoidance coping, which in turn leaded to high levels of depressive symptoms.

The study has several significant implications. The first contribution of this study is its empirical evidence for a mediation model that explains how acculturative stress and family life stress affect depressive symptoms among Vietnamese marriage migrant women in Korea. The factors included in the model could explain nearly 40% of the variance in depressive symptoms. Importantly, the present study is one of very few studies which explore the impact of both acculturative stress and family life stress, as well as compare the effects of these two sources of stress on mental health among marriage migrant women in general and Vietnamese marriage migrant women in particular. The results from the study emphasize the need for examining various sources of stress, especially stress related to family problems, when studying stress in marriage migrant women who can be under a great deal of stress arising from immigration and marriage.

At the practice level, the findings in relation to the situation and influencing factors around mental health in Vietnamese marriage migrant women make more salient the need for social workers to investigate culturally acquired mechanisms that may account for the high prevalence of depression in Vietnamese wives. Specifically, the study suggests that practitioners should gather information about these relevant factors, especially acculturative stress, family life stress, in order to understand the mechanisms of how stress leads to depressive symptoms in Vietnamese marriage migrant women and help them deal with their problems. More importantly, social workers need to develop relationships and understand people in the context of immigrant wives, as well as be equipped with the further knowledge on immigrant womens culture.

Further, at the policy level, the findings with respect to the high prevalence of depression among Vietnamese immigrant women indicate that policy makers need to be more concerned about psychological problems among marriage migrant women. The governments support and fund are needed to train cultural competent medical social workers in mental health working with marriage migrant women. Especially, based on the finding on the negative impact of family life stress, similar to acculturative stress, among Vietnamese wives, the study suggests that the Korean government should pay more attention to relationship problems in multicultural families. Social support policies for marriage migrant women to date have primarily focused on their adjustment problems by implementing Korean language, cultural or occupational education for migrant wives to help them adapt to Korean society. These one-sided integration policies may not resolve marriage migrant womens hardships in their family life in Korea. Rather, the government needs to identify the root cause of multicultural family problems lying on cultural differences. It is suggested that multicultural family support projects should be expanded by a variety of consulting and education programs for Korean family members. Such programs should be built in relation to the migrant wifes mother language and culture, physical and mental health, and supportive communication skills between spouses, including screening and evaluation projects.
Files in This Item:
Appears in Collections:
College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Dept. of Social Welfare (사회복지학과)Theses (Ph.D. / Sc.D._사회복지학과)
  • mendeley

Items in S-Space are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.