Personalizing Immigrant Sacrifices: Internalization of Sense of Indebtedness Toward Parents Among Korean American Young Adults

Hyeyoung Kang, Marcela Raffaelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This research explored Korean American (KA) young adults’ experiences related to their sense of indebtedness toward their parents and perceptions of how indebtedness affected their behavior toward parents. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 25 KA young adults from immigrant families. Most respondents narrated their sense of indebtedness to parents, verbally acknowledging appreciation for parents’ hardship and sacrifice; however, they differed in how much they internalized indebtedness, varying in level of personalization and perception of salience of indebtedness. Similarly, youth did not differ in how they described the role of their felt indebtedness in shaping their behavior toward parents (including filial responsibility, desire for success, and promoting positive interactions) but their motivations and interpretations of these behaviors differed depending on the degree of internalization of sense of indebtedness. Taken as a whole, findings suggest within-group variations in how KA young adults deal with collective cultural norms regarding intergenerational obligations and relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1331-1354
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Volume37
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • Asian American immigrant families
  • Korean American young adults
  • cultural internalization
  • intergenerational relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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