Problematic Internet use (PIU) is a growing though unexplored problem among Korean married couples in the United States. The present study aimed to examine the relationship between PIU, acculturative stress (AC), and marital intimacy (MI) among Korean married couples in Minnesota. Forty Korean heterosexual couples aged 18 to 54 were recruited through a combination of convenience and snowball sample from metropolitan areas in Minnesota. Participants completed survey questionnaires via email. Outcome variables were self- and partner-rated Internet Addiction Test (IAT) scores, respectively. Primary predictor variables were AC scores and MI scores. Multilevel models were fitted to estimate the effects of Actor-Partner Interdependence Model (APIM), a statistical methodology designed to analyze dyadic data. Data analyses were conducted using SAS 9.3. The results suggested that a person's levels of acculturative stress (p=.0574) marginally influenced his or her own PIU scores while the partner's levels of acculturative stress (p=.0036) significantly affected partner-rated PIU scores. Furthermore, the study demonstrated that a person's marital intimacy (Consensus, p=.0993) marginally predicted his or her own PIU scores while the partner's levels of marital intimacy (Overall marital intimacy, p=.0063; Consensus, p=.0004; Openness, p=.0136; Affection, p=.0282; Commitment, p=.0020) significantly predicted partner-rated PIU scores. In addition, the result indicated that marital intimacy decreased the estimate regression coefficient of the acculturative stress to self-rated IAT scores by 16.3% while social support satisfaction decreased the estimate regression coefficient of the acculturative stress to self-rated IAT scores by 30.7%. Finally, the results showed that the degree of difference between self- and spouse-rated IAT scores was positively associated with the difference of actor's and partner's acculturative stress and partner's marital intimacy. On the practices with married couples seeking professional help especially for partners' PIU, it is noteworthy for mental health practitioners to investigate not only their Internet use but also their relational quality, especially marital intimacy. Moreover, these findings suggest the importance of interventions in decreasing PIU by enhancing couples' marital quality in a family structure, considering gender differences in their effects. Finally, these findings support the importance of culturally-tailored interventions that target PIU as a means of enhancing Asian couples' marital quality in the United States.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2013. Major: Social Work. Advisor: Ronald Rooney. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 108 pages, appendices A-F.
Jin, Seok Won.
Disconnected marriage, connected Internet: exploring the relationship between problematic Internet use, acculturative stress, and marital intimacy among Korean married couples in the United States.
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