Effects of Ethnic Identity on the Relationship Between Mental Health and Perceived Discrimination Among Ethnic Return Migrants: The Case of Korean Chinese Return-Migrated to South Korea
This study examined the relationship among mental health, perceived discrimination and ethnic identity among Korean Chinese (Joseonjok) who have return-migrated to South Korea. A survey was conducted with 399 Joseonjok adults (≥ 19 years) residing in the capital city Seoul or nearby. Depression was measured using the (self-report) Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-Korean (CES-D-K) version (n = 292, mean age = 42.6, female = 56.5%). Perceived discrimination and ethnic identity were assessed with single-item questions. The mean CES-D-K total score was 9.3 (SD = 8.4) and 20.6% had clinical depression (cut-off score: 16). Perceived discrimination was positively associated with CES-D-K scores (regression coefficient = 2.09, p = 0.04). This association was stronger in those identifying themselves more strongly as ‘Korean’ than ‘Chinese’. Discrimination by ‘co-ethnic hosts’ can have a greater impact on mental health among those ethnic return migrants with a stronger ethnic identity. More efforts are needed to help them better integrate into South Korean society.
KeywordsKorean Chinese Depression Discrimination Identity Ethnic return migrants
I would like to express gratitude to all survey participants and the Federation of Korean Chinese Associations (‘중국동포연합중앙회’ in Korean), and special thanks to Mr. Young-Min Kim and Mr. Seong-Gon Kim for helping on data collection as well as Dr. Jong-Hyun Yi for his valuable comments on this manuscript.
This work was supported by the Gachon University research fund of 2016 (GCU-2016-0086).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
Author Jihyung Hong declares that she has no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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