Sport participation patterns and influencing factors on sport behavior of Korean immigrants in the United States
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The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze daily physical activity experiences and interactions in sport contexts of first- and one-and-a-half-generation Korean immigrants in the metropolitan Atlanta area in the United States. First-generation Korean immigrants are of particular interest in this study because their immigration at older ages influenced subsequent changes in their sport participation and sport behavior, and their length of stay in the United States is long enough to compare their experiences of both cultures. This study was guided by an interpretive qualitative approach, and symbolic interactionism provided the theoretical framework for data collection, analysis, and interpretation throughout this study. Fourteen participants (eight males and six females) were chosen by means of purposeful sampling, and in-depth interviews with the participants, ages between 18 and 54, who have lived in the United States at least 10 years, were conducted over a two-month period and were guided by pre-determined interview protocol. Participant observation, semi-structured in-depth interviews with each participant, and document review were used; however, the interviews were the primary source for data collection. The grounded theory method of constant comparative analysis was employed for the data analysis. The majority of immigrants experienced the low levels of physical activity participation during the initial adaptation period; however, the findings from the data analysis reveal an increased level of participation in various types of physical activities among the participants during the first post-settlement period. The findings of this study also suggest that the roles of the physical activity participation among Korean immigrants were three-fold: They chose one of the traditional paths in the adaptation process, either acculturating to the mainstream society or preserving their own ethnic identity, or they followed the distinct route in the adaptation process, assimilating to their own sub-culture in the United States. In conclusion, the roles of physical activity participation in the adaptation process and the internal dynamics of the Korean immigrant community are quite complex, and the Korean immigrants’ participation in physical activities helps in reinforcing their ethnic identity and strengthening ties with other members of their ethnic community.