Marital Power Dynamics and Wellbeing of Marriage Migrants

Hsin-Chieh Chang, University of California, Los Angeles

The rising number of interracial marriages in the U.S. has blurred group boundaries. Transnational marriages are also increasing within the European or Asian regions where one spouse migrates across national borders to get married. Yet we know relatively little about transnational marriages involving migration including marital power dynamics and the consequence of power differentials for the spouse who migrates. Using social survey data from South Korea, this paper examines the associations between marital power dynamics and wellbeing among marriage migrants. I focus on transnational marriages involving Korean husbands and migrant wives from Japan, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Wellbeing outcomes include self-rated health, life satisfaction, and views on marriage migration to Korea. By decomposing the effects of wives’ national origins, ethnicity, and dyadic differences in age, education, and socioeconomic status, this paper explores the institutional mechanisms of transnational families, and informs policymakers across family, health, and migration domains.

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Presented in Session 67: Intermarriage