Using Narrative Inquiry for Exploring Biculturalism and Resilience in Korean American Young Adults in New York City

Hannah H. Kim 1 * , Deborah L. Vietze 2

AM J QUALITATIVE RES, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 1-24

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This research is a qualitative and narrative inquiry to investigate how Korean American youth’s bicultural identity develops and to determine whether that bicultural identity serves a protective function in facing prejudice and discrimination and contributes to developing resilience. Data was collected through in-person interviews with ten second-generation Korean youth in New York City. Their life story narratives were analyzed using over 20 coding categories. The findings showed that the Korean youth felt comfortable embracing both their Korean- and Americanness. Their bicultural identities evolved as they confronted racism, including American stereotypes and prejudices towards them, raising their awareness of their Korean and Asian identity. They believed that biculturalism could be an asset as it could contribute to cultural flexibility and adaptation to the multicultural U.S. society. This study has significance for public health in that (1) it takes a closer look at the issues of identity struggles and discrimination experienced by young people with a minority background as they grow up in the United States; and (2) it provides an opportunity to explore ways to help these youth by understanding their psychological and emotional difficulties and sufferings.

Keywords: biculturalism, identity, life story model, narrative inquiry, resilience.