Theses Doctoral

Understanding the In-Law Relationship Experiences of Korean and Chinese American Women from a Psychological Perspective

Gwak, Angela

Even in the context of the multicultural scholarship, there is a lack of psychological research addressing the in-law relationship experiences of East Asian American daughters-in-law (DILs) residing in the U.S., specifically with regard to the emotional impacts and resiliencies that these women may experience in the face of potentially conflictual family dynamics. The primary purpose of this study was to contribute to the multicultural psychology literature by exploring the cultural, relational, affective, and coping experiences of these women, especially with regard to their unique social location and cultural contexts of Confucian and European American influences.

The present study utilized a consensual qualitative research (CQR) methodology to analyze the narratives of 12 Korean and Chinese American women who identified as 1.5 and 2nd generation and as DILs within their family network in the U.S. The results shed light into the affective and relational duress that they experienced due to their in-laws’ differing cultural values and traditional expectations. In particular, the participants reported that they often used indirect coping strategies to manage these stressors. The study offers multicultural training and practice recommendations for mental health service providers to consider when working with Korean and Chinese American women and their families.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Counseling Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Smith, Laura
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
November 24, 2021