Making Meaning of the Family's Immigrant Experience, Distress, and Help-Seeking: A Critical Inquiry of Mental Health Support for Second-Generation Korean Americans
Date of Award
PhD Counseling Psychology
Professional Psychology and Family Therapy
Minsun Lee, PhD
Jason D. Reynolds (Taewon Choi), PhD
Caroline Clauss-Ehlers, PhD
Maureen Gillette, PhD
Noelany Pelc, PhD
help-seeking, intergenerational trauma, second-generation Korean American, mental health
The Korean American community is a predominantly immigrant population with a long history of historical and cultural trauma, including the continued losses, hardships, and violence endured through the immigration process, that continues to impact the well-being and functioning of individuals and families today. Second-generation Korean Americans play critical roles in establishing and maintaining the livelihoods and security of their immigrant families; however, they have been underrepresented and under-researched within the literature on immigration and its effects on the mental health and help-seeking patterns of this population. Although there is strong evidence for the influence of culture in the intergenerational patterns of poor mental health service utilization amongst Korean Americans, there have been no studies to date investigating what specific cultural factors are at work and how they impact the help- seeking patterns and behaviors of second-generation Korean Americans.
This qualitative study is a critical inquiry of the cultural determinants of help-seeking by examining the meaning-making process developed out of the family immigration narratives of 12 second-generation Korean Americans. Results indicate a strong connection between the family’s immigrant experience and help-seeking behaviors of second-generation Korean Americans through the activation of unique sociocultural schemas. Findings suggest the presence of specific trauma patterns embedded within the Korean American immigrant experience with significant intergenerational effects. Recommendations for clinical application and future research are provided.
Kim-Martin, Kristin, "Making Meaning of the Family's Immigrant Experience, Distress, and Help-Seeking: A Critical Inquiry of Mental Health Support for Second-Generation Korean Americans" (2021). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 2908.
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