A Study of the Development of Alcohol Use Disorder in Muslim Immigrant Workers in Korea

Sun Kyung Kang, Ji Hyun Ro, Seungnam Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study examines the process by which Muslim immigrant workers, prohibited by their religion from drinking, develop alcohol use disorder when working in Korea. Participants were seven male immigrant workers who have lived in Korea for 6–10 years and all experienced a change in immigrant status, shifting from registered to unregistered. Utilizing grounded theory devised by Strauss and Corbin, 87 concepts, 24 subcategories, and 10 categories were derived as a result. By converting these categories into a paradigm model, participants moved through stages of “self-monitoring,” “confusion,” “self-despair,” and “daily collapse” as they developed alcohol use disorder, and began to take on an existence as drifters, not settling into life in Korea. Their “learning experiences of drinking to survive turning into experiences of causing social death” is considered a core category. The study’s results suggest that a rehabilitation program for immigrant workers needs to be developed wherein the program not only enables them to reflect on their current existence but also allows them to develop specific coping skills. Future research should be broadened to consider social support mechanisms and viewpoints of other people, including female immigrant workers, and local community members in close contact with Muslim immigrant workers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-199
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Service Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Muslim immigrant
  • alcohol use disorder
  • cultural consideration
  • rehabilitation
  • social support


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