The conceptual structure of hwa-byung in middle-aged Korean women

Young Joo Park, Hesook Suzie Kim, Donna Schwartz-Barcott, Jong Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The term hwa-byung (HB) as a culture-bound syndrome of Koreans has been used to refer to certain types of symptom complexes. However, there is an ambiguity in relation to what sorts of experiences and personal attributes can be identified for describing HB. Our study was designed to reexamine the conceptual structure of HB through a qualitative analysis of interview data with six middle-aged women experiencing HB. The emerging common themes of HB were identified in three dimensions: (a) those related to personal attributes or life situations such as quick-temperedness, strong commitment to traditional values, a hard or unhappy life, and conflicted marital relationship; (b) those related to experiential accounts such as deep sorrow (hahn in Korean), a feeling of victimization, anger, and enduring; and (c) HB symptoms. "Enduring" as one of the core concepts of HB viewed as the only way of life for these women needs further examination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-397
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Care for Woman International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Jun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Health Professions


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