Ethnic discrimination is increasingly common nowadays in South Korea with the influx of migrants. Despite the growing body of evidences suggests that ethnic discrimination negatively impacts health, only few researches have been conducted on the association between ethnic discrimination and health outcomes among marriage migrants in Korea. This study sought to examine how ethnic discrimination and response to the discrimination are related to self-rated health and whether the association differs by victim's gender.
We conducted two-step analysis using cross-sectional dataset from the 'National Survey of Multicultural Families 2012'. First, we examined the association between perceived ethnic discrimination and self-rated health among 14,406 marriage migrants in Korea. Second, among the marriage migrants who experienced ethnic discrimination (n=5,880), we examined how response to discrimination (i.e., whether or not asking for fair treatment) is related to poor self-rated health. All analyses were conducted after being stratified by the migrant's gender.
This research found the significant association between ethnic discrimination and poor self-rated health among female marriage migrants (OR: 1.53, 95 % CI: 1.32, 1.76), but not among male marriage migrants (OR: 1.16, 95 % CI: 0.81, 1.66). In the restricted analysis with marriage migrants who experienced ethnic discrimination, compared to the group who did not ask for fair treatment, female marriage migrants who asked for fair treatment were more likely to report poor self-rated health (OR: 1.21, 95 % CI: 0.98, 1.50); however, male marriage migrants who asked for fair treatment were less likely to report poor self-rated health (OR: 0.65, 95 % CI: 0.36, 1.04) although both were not statistically significant.
This is the first study to investigate gender difference in the association between response to ethnic discrimination and self-rated health in South Korea. We discussed that gender may play an important role in the association between response to discrimination and self-rated health among marriage migrants in Korea. In order to prevent discrimination which could endanger the health of ethnic minorities including marriage migrants, relevant policies are needed.