Self-revealing in Korean-American adolescents as a function of their degree of acculturation and depression

Charlene Bang, Pace University


For most immigrants, there are a number of stressors (e.g. language barriers, discrimination, prejudice) related to immigration which can negatively affect adjustment. As a result, some immigrants may experience psychological distress such as depression. Attempts to overcome this stressful adjustment can lead to different coping strategies such as adapting to the new culture. In contrast, with difficult adjustment, the immigrant can experience acculturative stress. Korean American adolescents may experience increased difficulty with adjustment since they are already facing emotional challenges as they transition from childhood to adulthood. As a result of Korean culture, in which it is ideal for an individual to remain calm even during stressful times (i.e., immigration) and are possibly experiencing emotional distress, Korean American adolescents may internalize their feelings and not self reveal/self disclose their emotions. As they adapt to the new culture or become acculturated, their tendency to self reveal or self disclose psychological symptoms may increase. Studies suggest that there are gender differences in willingness to reveal personally relevant information. According to Dogin & Kim (1994), females reveal more than males. One way to study willingness to reveal personal information is by means of self-report measures or questionnaires such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent (MMPI-A). The MMPI-A has three scales L, F, and K, that are specifically sensitive to how individuals reveal personal information. The L scale is designed to detect attempts made by adolescents to put themselves in a favorable light. The F scale is designed to detect the adolescent exaggerating symptoms or problems. The K scale is designed to detect defensiveness. These scales (L, F, and K) enabled us to determine in the present study the validity of the MMPI-A when using it with Korean American adolescents. The present study determined the relationship between acculturation, defined by Suinn-Lew Asian-Identity Acculturation Scale (SL-ASIA) and self revealing, as defined by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-Adolescent (MMPI-A's) validity scales, L, F, and K. In addition, effects of depression, as determined by the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) on tendency to reveal was examined. Furthermore, interaction effects between self disclosure, acculturation, and depression were determined. Lastly, gender differences were examined. To study these effects, 79 Korean American adolescents (females: $n = 39;$ males: $n = 40$ between the ages of 12 and 18 from PA, NJ, and NY) who were either born in (49%) or emigrated to (51%) the U.S., were administered the three scales, the MMPI-A, SL-ASIA, and BDI. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Social psychology|Psychotherapy|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Bang, Charlene, "Self-revealing in Korean-American adolescents as a function of their degree of acculturation and depression" (1998). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI9828744.



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