Depression in Non-Korean Women Residing in South Korea Following Marriage to Korean Men

  • Hyun-Sil Kim
    Corresponding Author: Hyun-Sil Kim PhD, Department of Nursing, Daegu Haany University, #165 Sang-Dong, Susung-Gu, Daegu, 706–060, South Korea.
    Department of Nursing, Daegu Haany University, Daegu, South Korea

    Women's Mental Health Research, Faculty of Health, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Search for articles by this author
  • Hun-Soo Kim
    Elim Neuropsychiatric Clinic, Wangshimni, Sungdong-Gu, Seoul 133–867, South Korea

    Department of Psychiaty, Asan Medical Center, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Songpa-Gu Seoul, South Korea
    Search for articles by this author
Published:April 11, 2013DOI:



      The purpose of the study was to examine the roles of acculturative stress, life satisfaction, and language literacy in depression in non-Korean women residing in South Korea following marriage to Korean men.


      A cross-sectional study was performed, using an anonymous, self-reporting questionnaire. A total of 173 women were selected using a proportional stratified random sampling method. The relation between acculturation, depression, language literacy, life satisfaction and socio-demographic variables and the predictors of depression among participants were analyzed. The analysis included descriptive statistics and hierarchical multiple regression.


      Of the participants, 9.2% had depression, which was almost twice the rate of depression found in the general Korean population. In hierarchical multiple regression analysis, acculturative stress (beta = −.325, P < .001) and life satisfaction (beta = −.282, P = .003) were significantly associated with the level of depression. This final model was statistically significant and life satisfaction, acculturative stress, language literacy accounted for 31.0% (adjusted R2) of the variance in the depression score (P < .001).


      Elevated acculturative stress and less life satisfaction were significantly associated with a higher level of depression in migrant wives in Korea. Implications for practice and research are discussed.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Archives of Psychiatric Nursing
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Abraido-Lanz A.F.
        • Chao M.T.
        • Florez K.R.
        Do healthy behaviors decline with greater acculturation? Implications for the Latino mortality paradox.
        Social Science & Medicine. 2005; 61: 1243-1255
        • Akhtar-Danesh N.
        • Landeen J.
        Relation between depression and socio-demographic factors.
        International Journal of Mental Health Systems. 2007; 2007: 4
        • Bernstein K.S.
        • Park S.-Y.
        • Shin J.
        • Cho S.
        • Park Y.
        Acculturation, discrimination and depressive symptoms among Korean immigrants in New York City.
        Community Mental Health Journal. 2011; 47: 24-34
        • Berry J.W.
        Acculturation: Living successfully in two cultures.
        International Journal of Intercultural Relations. 2005; 29: 697-712
        • Berry J.W.
        Acculturation: A conceptual overview.
        in: Bornstein M.H. Cote L.R. Acculturation and parent–child relationships. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ2006: 13-30
        • Bhugra D.
        Migration and depression.
        Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 2003; 108: 67-72
        • Bhugra D.
        Migration, distress and cultural identity.
        British Medical Bulletin. 2004; 69: 129-141
        • Casado B.L.
        • Leung P.
        Migratory grief and depression among elderly Chinese American immigrants.
        Journal of Gerontological Social Work. 2001; 36: 5-26
        • Cho M.J.
        • Chang S.M.
        • Hahm B.J.
        • Chung I.W.
        • Bae A.
        • Lee Y.M.
        • Lee H.W.
        Prevalence and correlates of major mental disorders among Korean adults: A 2006 National epidemiologic survey.
        Journal of Korean Neuropsychiatric Association. 2009; 48: 143-152
        • Cho M.
        • Kim K.
        Use of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies depression (CES-D) scale in Korea.
        The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 1998; 186: 304-310
        • Choi W.
        A study on the social–cultural adaptation of foreign wives in Korea.
        Journal of Asian Women. 2007; 46: 141-181
        • Choi J.
        • Miller A.
        • Wilbur J.
        Acculturation and depressive symptoms in Korean immigrant women.
        Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. 2007; 11: 13-19
        • Contantine M.G.
        • Okazaki S.
        • Utsey S.O.
        Self-concealment, social self-efficacy, acculturative stress, and depression in African, Asian, and Latin American international college students.
        The American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 2004; 74: 230-241
        • Dehle C.
        • Larsen D.
        • Landers J.E.
        Social support in marriage.
        American Journal of Family Therapy. 2001; 29: 307-324
        • Diener E.
        Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index.
        The American Psychologist. 2000; 55: 34-43
        • Everson S.A.
        • Maty S.C.
        • Lynch J.W.
        • Kaplan G.A.
        Epidemiologic evidence for the relation between socioeconomic status and depression, obesity, and diabetes.
        Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2002; 53: 891-895
        • Faul F.
        • Erdfelder E.
        • Buchner A.
        • Lang A.-G.
        Statistical power analyses using G*Power 3.1: Tests for correlation and regression analyses.
        Behavior Research Methods. 2009; 41: 1149-1160
        • Gonzalez H.M.
        • Haan M.N.
        • Hinton L.
        Acculturation and the prevalence of depression in older Mexican Americans: Baseline results of the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging.
        Journal of American Geriatrics Society. 2001; 49: 948-953
        • Han G.S.
        Family life and cultural encounter of foreign wives in rural area.
        The Korean Journal of Cultural Anthropology. 2006; 39: 195-243
        • Hovey J.D.
        Acculturative stress, depression, and suicidal ideation in Mexican immigrants.
        Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 2000; 6: 134-151
        • Hovey J.D.
        Psychosocial predictors of depression among Central American immigrants.
        Psychological Reports. 2000; 86: 1237-1240
        • Hovey J.D.
        • Magana C.
        Acculturative stress, anxiety, and depression among Mexican immigrant farm workers in the Midwest United States.
        Journal of Immigrant Health. 2000; 2: 119-131
        • Kim H.S.
        International marriage migrant women in Korea.
        Korean Journal of Women's Health Nursing. 2008; 14: 248-256
        • Kim H.S.
        Social integration and health policy issues for international marriage migrant women in South Korea.
        Public Health Nursing. 2010; 27: 561-570
        • Kim H.S.
        Impacts of social support and life satisfaction on depression among international marriage migrant women in Daegu and Kyungpook area.
        Journal of Korean Academy of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing. 2011; 20: 188-198
        • Kim M.T.
        • Han H.
        • Shin H.
        • Kim K.B.
        • Lee H.B.
        Factors associated with depression experience of immigrant populations: A study of Korean immigrants.
        Archives of Psychiatric Nursing. 2005; 19: 217-225
        • Lee E.
        Citizenship in Korea: From ethnic purity to multicultural identity?.
        Canadian Diversity. 2008; 6: 82-85
        • Lee H.K.
        International marriage and the state in South Korea; Focusing on government policy.
        Citizenship Studies. 2008; 12: 107-123
        • Miller A.M.
        • Chandler P.J.
        Acculturation, resilience, and depression in midlife women from the former Soviet Union.
        Nursing Research. 2002; 51: 26-32
        • Mills T.L.
        • Henretta J.C.
        Racial, ethnic, and socio-demographic differences in the level of psychosocial distress among older Americans.
        Research on Aging. 2001; 23: 131-152
        • Muramatsu N.
        County-level income inequality and depression among older Americans.
        Health Services Research. 2003; 38: 1863-1883
        • Neugarten B.L.
        • Havighurst R.J.
        • Tobin S.S.
        The measurement of life satisfaction.
        Journal of Gerontology. 1961; 16: 134-143
        • Noh S.
        • Kaspar V.
        Perceived discrimination and depression: Moderating effects of coping, acculturation, and ethnic support.
        American Journal of Public Health. 2003; 93: 232-238
        • Oh Y.
        • Koeske G.
        • Sales E.
        Acculturation, stress, and depressive symptoms among Korean immigrants in the United States.
        The Journal of Social Psychology. 2002; 142: 511-526
        • Poyrazli S.
        • Arbona C.
        • Nora A.
        • McPherson R.
        • Pisecco S.
        Relation between assertiveness, academic self-efficacy and psychological adjustment among international graduate students.
        Journal of College Student Development. 2002; 43: 632-642
        • Poyrazli S.
        • Thukral R.K.
        • Duru E.
        International students' race–ethnicity, personality and acculturative stress.
        Journal of Psychology and Counseling. 2010; 2: 25-32
        • Prigerson H.G.
        • Maciejewski P.K.
        • Rosenheck R.A.
        The effects of marital dissolution and marital quality on health and health services use among women.
        Medical Care. 1999; 37: 858-873
        • Sandhu D.S.
        • Asrabadi B.R.
        Development of acculturative stress for international students: Preliminary findings.
        Psychological Reports. 1994; 75: 435-448
        • Stokes S.C.
        • Thompson L.W.
        • Murphy S.
        • Gallagher-Thompson D.
        Screening for depression in immigrant Chinese-American elders: Results of a pilot study.
        Journal of Gerontological Social Work. 2001; 36: 27-44
        • Sundquist J.
        • Bayard-Burfield L.
        • Johansson L.M.
        • Johansson S.E.
        Impact of ethnicity, violence and acculturation on displaced migrants.
        The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 2000; 188: 357-365
        • Torres L.
        • Driscoll M.W.
        • Voell M.
        Discrimination, acculturation, acculturative stress, and Latino psychological distress: A moderated mediational model.
        Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 2012; 18: 17-25
        • Tran T.V.
        • Manalo V.
        • Nguyen V.T.D.
        Nonlinear relationship between length of residence and depression in a community-based sample of Vietnamese Americans.
        The International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 2007; 53: 85-94
        • Wijers M.
        • Lap-Chew L.
        Trafficking in women, forced labor and slavery-like practices in marriage, domestic labor and prostitution. STV (Foundation Against Trafficking in Women), Utrecht, the Netherlands1997
        • Yang O.K.
        • Kim Y.S.
        A study on the effects of depressiveness among foreign wives through marriage migration.
        Mental Health & Social Work. 2007; 26: 79-110
        • Ye J.
        An examination of acculturative stress, interpersonal social support, use of ethnic social groups among Chinese international students.
        Howard Journal of Communications. 2006; 17: 1-20
        • Yeh C.J.
        • Inose M.
        International students' reported English fluency, social support satisfaction, and social connectedness as predictors of acculturative stress.
        Counselling Psychology Quarterly. 2003; 16: 15-28