Partner Abuse among East Asian Immigrant Women

Principal Investigator: Marianne Yoshioka, Ph.D. (CUSSW)

In Association with the Immigrant Womenís Health Project of the Social Intervention Group

Funding: Center for the Study of Social Work Practice

During the last decade partner abuse has emerged as a prominent issue in East Asian immigrant communities in the United States. Despite the lack of formal prevalence and incidence studies, there is evidence within the communities to suggest that growing numbers of Asian immigrant women are living with violence. The limited research available suggests that there is a complex interweaving of cultural, environmental, and interpersonal factors that contribute to placing immigrant families at risk for violence. More complete information addressing the interaction of all of these factors would be invaluable in the development of services for this under-served group.

The objective of the research is to determine the relationship between acculturation, language skills, and partner abuse; how the experience of violence interacts with decisions to utilize health and mental health services; what barriers prevent women from obtaining such services; what helps women to cope with family stress and partner abuse; and how the experience of violence affects employment and job turnover.

This pilot study will involve individual in-depth interviews of a random sample of 120 Chinese and Korean women drawn from the client list of NYC-HHC Child Health Stations. Twenty women will be asked to participate in longer interviews, the purpose of which is to refine an existing protocol to ensure its relevence for Chinese and Korean populations. All interviews will take place in the participantís language of choice. Cantonese, Mandarin, and Korean speaking interviewers will be trained for this purpose.

Although Dr. Yoshioka will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the research, the data collection will be completed by a team. This group, the Immigrant Womenís Health Project (IWHP) is an initiative within a larger intervention research organization, the Social Intervention Group (SIG) at Columbia University School of Social Work. By working with SIG, the IWHP will have the infrastructure needed to carry out this complex research project.