Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Intermarriage-Psychological aspects, Intermarriage-Social aspects, Married people-Family relationships, Korean American women-Psychology, Korean American women-Family relationships, Women immigrants-United States-Psychology, Cross-cultural relationships, Cross-national relationships, Exogamy, Korean and American relationships, Korean brides, Mixed marriages


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how couples, composed of a Korean woman and a non-Asian North American man, who are in long-term relationship, perceive the challenges and benefits of their relationship, and to gain an understanding of how they negotiate, interweave and construct their relationship. Six intermarried couples, where the female partner had been born and was raised primarily in Korea, and the male partner came from the United States were interviewed. Special emphasis was placed on how the woman's experiences of migration, including loss and adaptation to a new culture, have affected her and have impacted her partner. Other issues explored were how the national, cultural, ethnic, linguistic and gender role differences between partners are viewed and handled in these relationships. Additionally, strategies for coping and supporting each other through the experience were considered, and their recommendations for other couples were discussed. The study identified both the obstacles and the sources of strength and support that have contributed to the couples' adaptation. The couples received a mixed reception initially from their families and friends in regards to their relationship, but this became more positive over time. The experiences of migration were mixed, and included feelings of loss, dislocation and isolation, but also feelings of opportunities, independence and empowerment. Important cultural differences were highlighted, especially around communication, but also similarities and shared values were noted. The couples found f that with patience, understanding, acceptance and flexibility, they were able to traverse the obstacles.




iv, 139 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2009. Includes bibliographical references (p. 119-122)