Predictors and consequences of intimate partner violence impacting Korean women




Kim, Soojeong, Ph. D.

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Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an ongoing health issue in South Korea. IPV has significant adverse effects on women’s lives and causes irreparable injuries. This dissertation sought to examine the physical and mental consequences of IPV and identify which predictors within the intimate relationship develop into actual violence. First, we reviewed the context of intimate partner femicide (IPF), the most serious form of IPV, and factors affecting IPF in South Korea. Findings indicate that Koreans’ relatively low public awareness of IPF compared to its seriousness is partly due to the influence of traditional Korean culture. Societal factors such as a Confucian culture emphasizing traditional Korean women’s roles, patriarchal family structure, and passive police officers have had a tremendous influence on the other factors. Second, we focused on how behavior considered to be romantic in intimate relationships develops into IPV. We found that one partner’s control over the other plays an important role in the progression to IPV perpetration and the insecurity of the adult attachments in this progression. As a result, control over a partner can be considered a warning sign for more severe forms of IPV, including physical, psychological, and sexual violence. Therefore, it is necessary to raise awareness in Korean society and develop sensitivity to recognize dominance over others as unsafe and unhealthy behavior, not as a way for men to express love toward women. Last, using the concept of gender-role stress, we sought to examine how traditional cultural values affect Korean women’s depressive symptoms related to IPV. In addition, we explored how personal resources such as self-esteem and life satisfaction factor into those symptoms. The results showed that gender-role stress was positively related to IPV severity and depressive symptoms and negatively associated with self-esteem and life satisfaction. In summary, findings indicate the importance of accessible and timely interventions for women exposed to IPV, and further research is needed to find ways to best support women’s physical and mental health and protect them when IPV occurs. Future work assessing the cultural aspects of IPV can provide additional insight into factors related to both risk and protection, allowing for intervention efforts based on IPV experience and thus promoting safe and healthy adjustment.



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