Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Hayg Oshagan

Second Advisor

Pradeep Sopory


The purpose of this study is to investigate media's influences on the acculturation of North Korean refugee young adults in South Korea, especially focusing on identifying the role of online social media. The study examined the acculturation and media patterns of the refugee young adults and found evidence that the use of South Korean media and North Korea-related media enhanced the acculturation domains of South and North Korean cultures, and therefore the utilization of both media as a whole can facilitate the pluralism model of acculturation. Specifically, a series of hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that South Korean mass media use had positive, significant relationships with South Korean identity and language competence. In addition, online social media use with South Koreans was significantly related to greater South Korean identity and South Korean social networks, and it also showed marginal associations with greater involvement with the South Korean community and less acculturative stress. On the other hand, the use of North Korea-related mass media content was positively related to North Korean cultural competence, North Korean refugee community involvement, and self-esteem, and the use of online social media with North Korean refugees was positively related to North Korean identity and cultural competence and social networks with other refugees. These findings indicate that the acculturation process of North Korean refugee young adults is significantly influenced by the dynamic interactions between South Korean media and North Korea-related media and also between the mass media and online social media. The theoretical model describing the media environment of North Korean refugees was presented along with the discussions of practical implications and directions for future research.

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