The Role of Economic Stress and Coping Resources in Predicting Hwabyung Symptoms

Abstract

This article reports the findings from a study that examined the role of economic stress and coping resources in predicting hwabyung symptoms among Koreans in the United States. The literal meaning of hwabyung is “fire illness” or “anger illness.” Koreans believe that chronic stress can cause the onset of hwabyung, manifested mainly through somatic symptoms. Data collected from an anonymous survey of 242 voluntary participants were analyzed using hierarchical multiple regression (R2). The findings demonstrated the important role that social support and sense of self-esteem play in explaining hwabyung symptoms. Also, the graduate education attained in the United States appears to play positive role in reducing the hwabyung symptoms, while being a woman can increase their vulnerability to this indigenous psychiatric illness to Korean people. Based on the findings, the implications for practice and suggestions for future study are discussed.

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Correspondence to Jonghyun Lee.

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Lee, J. The Role of Economic Stress and Coping Resources in Predicting Hwabyung Symptoms. Community Ment Health J 55, 211–221 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-018-0293-1

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Keywords

  • Korean immigrant communities
  • Hwabyung
  • Acculturation
  • Self-esteem
  • Social support
  • Economic stress