A Qualitative Investigation of Korean Immigrant Women's Lives

Eunju Yoon, Dal Yob Lee, Young Ran Koo, Sung Kyung Yoo

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32 Scopus citations


Postimmigration adjustment experiences of 10 Korean immigrant women were examined using the consensual qualitative research method. Seven domains emerged: general life conditions; gender role; changes in family dynamics; ethnic/national identity, cultural competency, and belongingness; value changes; racial relationships; and support systems and attitudes toward counseling. Participants reported English barriers as one of the biggest challenges. They appreciated a better educational environment for children; a sense of liberation from patriarchal, collectivistic pressures (e.g., demands by in-laws, comparison with others); and strengthened family ties. They highlighted Korean immigrant women's strengths and adaptability for family survival in the new environment. Participants reported lacking cultural competency or a sense of belongingness in the mainstream society but expected their children to succeed and have voices in the mainstream society. All participants experienced racism and developed coping strategies such as verbal confrontation. Concern about gossips in the small ethnic community was a barrier to seeking counseling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-553
Number of pages31
JournalCounseling Psychologist
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2010


  • adult populations
  • international
  • multiculturalism
  • qualitative methodology


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