Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 767–777 | Cite as

Cultural Orientation and Psychosocial Adjustment Among Immigrant Adolescents in South Korea

  • Bee Ryou
  • Yoonsun Choi
  • Jun Sung Hong
  • Kihyun KimEmail author
Original Paper


The present study primarily uses Berry’s theoretical model to examine national identity, acculturation (to South Korea), ethnic identity, and enculturation (to country-of-origin), and how they are linked to immigrant adolescents’ aggression and depression in South Korea. Data were collected from 120 immigrant youths (i.e., those born in South Korea and those born in their country-of-origin) in eight middle schools. Analyses include multivariate regression and cluster analyses. Findings indicate that South Korean identity (m = 48, F = 77.0, p < .001), acculturation to South Korean culture (m = 44.9, F = 52.3, p < .01), and mother’s Korean proficiency (m = 3.6, F = 10.9, p < .001) were higher among Korea-born adolescents. Enculturation (m = 35.5, F = 13.7, p < .001) and depression (m = 36.4, F = 15.3, p < .001) were higher among foreign-born adolescents. Aggression (r = − .26, p < .01) and depression (r = − .46, p < .01) were lower among native-born Korean adolescents. South Korean identity (B = − .27, p = .02) and acculturation (B = − .28, p = .01) were negatively associated with aggression. South Korean identity (B = − .22, p = .04), acculturation (B = − .21, p = .03), and ethnic identity (B = − .17, p = .02) were negatively associated with depression. Integration youth (M = 12.7) and assimilation youth (M = 11.5) reported lower aggression than marginalization youth (M = 15.8, F = 5.48, p < .01). Assimilation type had better outcomes than separation and marginalization types.


Acculturation Adolescents Aggression Depression Immigrant South Korea 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The study was approved by the first and last authors’ Institutional Review Board and met all ethical standards, such as voluntary participation, confidentiality, and limited risk. The second and third author did not participate in the data collection.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained in the study.

Research Involving Human and Animal Participants

The authors ensured that all ethical standards were met; thus, there are no ethical issues with regards to human participants or animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bee Ryou
    • 1
  • Yoonsun Choi
    • 2
  • Jun Sung Hong
    • 1
    • 3
  • Kihyun Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Social WelfareSungkyunkwan UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of Social Service AdministrationUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.School of Social WorkWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA

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