Social Integration and Post-Divorce Wellbeing Among Female Marriage Migrants in New Immigrant Destinations

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 13:50
Oral Presentation
Hsin-Chieh CHANG, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
One common trend observed across new immigrant destinations in Asia is the high prevalence of divorce among intra-Asia transnational marriages compared to marriages between the locals. Taiwan and South Korea are no exceptions. Some migrant divorcees might have returned to their home countries, yet many have chosen to remain in the host societies to pursue better life prospects for themselves and their bi-ethnic children. Using mixed-methods including 22 in-depth interviews with Vietnamese migrant divorcees in Taiwan and Korea that I conducted between 2011 and 2017, and a large-scale survey containing 2,435 divorcees from China, Vietnam, the Philippines and other Asian countries who were residing in Korea in 2009, I examine different patterns of social integration and wellbeing among female migrant divorcees. The survey results show that migrant divorcees’ self-rated health and life satisfaction are significantly worse than the average of marriage migrants. Furthermore, migrant divorcees maintain less social relationships with Koreans and are more likely to report discrimination in daily lives. Importantly, being employed links to better health after controlling for socioeconomic factors, immigrant characteristics, and key covariates. Multivariate analyses show that more types of social relationships with Koreans contribute to migrant divorcees’ better wellbeing, yet discrimination is associated with worse wellbeing. With the mean age of thirty-four among 22 divorcees, the mean years of marriage were 7.3 (9 in Taiwan and 6 in Korea). Findings from the interviews were used to illustrate the processes of getting a divorce among Vietnamese marriage migrants who reside in both rural and urban settings, and the sources of support they obtain from different types of friendship networks at various stages of the divorce processes. For migrant divorcees who are often lack of support networks in the host societies, both quantity and quality of social interactions with the native population matter for their wellbeing.