Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Korean Americans-Mental health, Korean Americans-Psychology, Depression, Mental-Treatment, Depression, Mental-Etiology, Shame, Narrative therapy, Korea and depression, Korea-Social conditions-21st century


This qualitative exploratory study examines the Korean cultural narrative of depression from Korean American clinician's perspectives. There were eight participants that were licensed in one of the following professions; marriage and family therapist, licensed clinical social worker, psychologist and psychiatrist. The participants provided their understanding from a Korean cultural point of view, as well being able to compare and contrast it to the western diagnosis of depression. The goal being to provide clinicians working with Korean individual's greater knowledge and insight so they may have a more culturally competent practice. Study results indicated that within the Korean culture there is shame that is attached to acknowledging depressive symptoms within the culture; because the culture is still very collectivist, shame from an individual reflects the family as a whole. Participants expressed that Korean individuals will speak of physical ailments, somaticize symptoms of depression instead of speaking of sadness or low moods; contrary to how depression is expressed and diagnosed by westerners.




v, 67 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 57-59)