Determinants of Consensual Divorce in Korea: Gender, Socio-Economic Status, and Life Course

By Chun, Young-Ju; Sohn, Tae-Hong | Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Autumn 2009 | Go to article overview

Determinants of Consensual Divorce in Korea: Gender, Socio-Economic Status, and Life Course


Chun, Young-Ju, Sohn, Tae-Hong, Journal of Comparative Family Studies


INTRODUCTION

In many industrialized countries, the pressure to stay married has dissipated and marriages are more freely terminated than at any other time in history (Hughes, 2005; Wallerstein, Lewis and Blakeslee, 2000). In Korea, divorce has traditionally been regarded as a "family dishonor," which had repressed divorce for at least six hundred years (1) (Choi, Kim, and Cha, 2006). During the last few decades, however, the social taboo against divorce has rapidly decreased in Korean society. Census statistics indicate that the crude divorce rate (2) in 1971 was 0.3, and it has gradually increased to 3.5 in 2003 (Korea National Statistical Office, 2008).

With the prevalence of divorce, studies on divorce determinants have primarily been conducted from both the macro and the micro perspectives (White, 1991). At the macro level, structural and demographic variables which influence the occurrence of divorce have been examined. Sociological research, for example, has focused on life course and structural factors related to divorce (Amato and Previti, 2003; South and Spitze, 1986; Trent and South, 1989; White, 1991). Meanwhile at the micro level, interpersonal and psychological variables related to marital disruption were explored (Gottman, 1993). While a considerable number of studies on divorce determinants have been done in North America, what causes marital relationship breakdown has rarely been analyzed in other cultures such as Korea.

The purpose of this study is to examine the status of divorce determinants perceived by divorcing people in Korea, and to explore the variance of the divorce determinants by social demographic factors such as gender, socioeconomic status and life course. These three factors can offer a core analytical prism in viewing divorce decisions. They reflect significant variations in people's accounts of divorce based on structural factors and life cycle (Amato and Previti, 2003). For this study, 2,231 Koreans who visited family court to file consensual divorce filled out a questionnaire regarding their perceived cause of marital disruption. Among social demographic factors, socioeconomic status was indexed by income and education, while life course was categorized by the duration of marriage and the number of children.

LITERATUREREVIEW

Divorce in Korea

The crude divorce rate in Korea from 1970 to 2007 has fluctuated between 0.3 and 3.5 (refer to Table 5) reaching the peak in 2003 and decreasing thereafter. According to the 2008 Korea Census, the crude divorce rate in 2007 was 2.5 (Korea National Statistical Office, 2008). Among OECD (3) nations, Korea ranked second in divorce rate, only following the USA (UN, 2002). Several survey studies conducted in Korea reported that a range between 30% and 60% of married respondents have considered divorce at least once during the duration of their married life (Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, 2005; Han, Kang and Han, 2003; Lee, Kim, Choi, Han and Kim, 2002).

Since the 1970s, societal attitude toward accepting divorce has changed partly due to the feminist movement in Korea (Lee, 2003). In addition to the increase in gender equity in Korean society, there has been a drastic increase in the divorce rate since 1997 when the Korean economic disaster occurred. (4) Presumably, stress generated by financial hardship seemed to worsen marital relationships, resulting in the highest divorce rate in history. The increase in the divorce rate stabilized since 2004 when the Korean government actively intervened to improve family life by amendments in family law, and the establishment of new family policy.

Current divorce statistics in Korea showed that the average age of divorce has been increasing gradually. The average age of divorce for men is 43.2, while that for divorced women is 39.5. Compared to the average age of divorce in 1997, the results in 2007 were 4.1 years higher for men and 4. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Determinants of Consensual Divorce in Korea: Gender, Socio-Economic Status, and Life Course
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.