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04-06-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 9/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 9/2016

Marriage Immigrant Mothers’ Experience of Perceived Discrimination, Maternal Depression, Parenting Behaviors, and Adolescent Psychological Adjustment Among Multicultural Families in South Korea

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 9/2016
Grace H. Chung, Ji Young Lim


Since the late 1990s, South Korea has witnessed a rapid increase in international marriages between Korean men and foreign brides from less developed Asian countries. These women are known as marriage immigrants, which refer to foreigners residing in Korea who are currently or were previously in a marital relationship with a Korean national. Marriage migration has been fueled by global economic circumstances where young women in less developed countries seek to immigrate to a more developed country for better economic opportunities. International marriage with a Korean national offers them an opportunity to obtain permanent residence and legal status to work in Korea. As the number of these marriages increases in Korea, issues such as discrimination against marriage immigrant women and adjustment problems of their children have emerged as unprecedented agenda items for policies and scholarly inquiries. In this context, the purpose of this study was to test a hypothesized model of maternal experience of perceived discrimination relating to adolescent psychological adjustment in a sample of 164 mother–adolescent dyads from multicultural families in South Korea. Structural equation modeling showed that discrimination perceived by marriage immigrant mothers was associated with higher depression, which in turn was related to higher levels of permissive and authoritarian parenting behaviors. Permissive, but not authoritarian parenting behavior mediated the path between maternal depression in the context of discrimination and multicultural adolescents’ negative psychological adjustment. Implications for policy and practice were discussed on the basis of the findings.

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