CULTURAL INFLUENCE ON THE CHARACTERIZATIONS OF HEALTH BY KOREAN WOMEN LIVING IN THE UNITED STATES
The number of Korean migrants in the United States is continuously on the rise. As immigrants, they adapt to their new environment, including their understanding of health. This study explored the experience of Korean women living in the United States with respect to their perceptions of health and attempted to develop a substantive theory that explains the basic social process of adjusting to new life. Specifically, this study was undertaken to address the following questions: "How do Korean women living in the United States characterize health? and “To what extent does Korean and/or American culture affect such characterization?” This descriptive qualitative study utilized the grounded theory design. Accordingly, data collection comprised of purposive and theoretical sampling methods. In-depth, semi-structured, audio-taped interviews were conducted with a total of 20 Korean women in 20’s who have lived in the United States for at least two years. Interview data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using Strauss and Corbin's constant comparative method. Findings indicated that Korean women use various methods of coping with new cultural environment and understanding toward health. Three main categories of health perceptions emerged: Physical health, mental and emotional health, and social health.