KCCD Report: The State of Korean American Marriages

June 25, 2008

Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD) recently announced key findings from its research in the “State of Korean American Marriages”. Nearly half (48.5%) admit that there is someone in their immediate family (parents, siblings, children, spouse) having serious marriage/family problems.

This excerpt is taken from the press release, KCCD Announces Findings from its Research on “State of Korean American Marriages”:

On May 28th 2008, KCCD hosted a press conference announcing the findings of its research report on “State of Korean American Marriages.” This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children and Families.*
Hyepin Im, KCCD President, stated,”… This report reveals the various hidden problems and sources of tensions within Korean American marriages, and identifies the marriage education and family support needs and gaps in service within the Korean American community, particularly those needs that are specific to Korean Americans’ distinct cultural and immigration experience. As one example, in-law problems was listed 2nd in challenges for Korean American marriages.”

Rev. John Park of Council of Korean Churches in Southern California who is a partnering with KCCD in the Healthy Marriae Initiative stated, “This study shows so many Korean American families and marriages are experiencing difficulty with over 43% stating that in their immediate families, there has been divorce. Yet, it is also ironic and demonstrates the culture of shame is so strong by over 90% of the survey participants stating that they all have happy marriages. …”
Eric Boyd, District Director of Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas, stated, ” This study is really alarming, it surfaces so many areas of progress, not just for the Korean community but for our society in general…The Senator is in favor of preventative measures so if these numbers are showing that 48% of the people know somebody personally who needs help in their marriages, we really need to have more marriage education”.

Here are some highlights from the web page, KCCD The State of Korean American Marriages:

Quotes from its focus group of church & community leaders:

What is an Korean American Definition of “Healthy Marriage”:

  1. Financial Success
  2. Children’s Academic Success
  3. Good Relationship

Top Source of Conflict in Korean American Marriages:

  1. Financial
  2. In-Law Challenges
  3. Infidelity
  4. Domestic Violence

The Korean (and Asian) culture of shame affects perceptions of reality — 90% stated they have healthy marriage. However, 43.1% answered yes to “In my immediate family (parents, siblings, children, spouse), there has been divorce.” Other key findings highlighted on their web page include: identified skills to improve marriage, what respondents were most interested in learning more about, reasons for not taking marriage education.

Download and read the full KCCD report at http://kccd3300.org/assets/images/data/Thestateofkoreanamericanmarriages.pdf

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Arthur Hsu
June 26th, 2008

Quite an interesting read. I suspect many of the findings can be transferred over to other Asian communities as well. I see some these factors in my own parents’ marriage and we are Chinese.

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