Immigrant Women in Transnational Marriages in Taiwan: Health Empowerment

The Study and Participatory Action Research

The author of the study, Health Empowerment among Immigrant Women in Transnational Marriages in Taiwan, uses a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach to identify problems that impact immigrant women in Taiwan. According to Yang, Y. M., et al., PAR is a modern method of research that uses a bottom-up approach to find a solution (205, pp. 137). The method works by involving the target population in the study process and the eventual solving of the identified problem. In this case, the researchers looked at the growing issue of immigrant wives in Taiwan.

Health Disparity and Growing Trend

Yang, Wang, Lee, Lin and Lin noted that the trend is a new shift in courting that benefit the bride and the bridegroom in meeting their respective needs (Yang, Y. M., et al., 2015, pp 136). However, Kreps, and Sparks points at a growing disparity between the health status of the native Taiwanese women and the immigrant wives from countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Philippines, and Thailand (Yang, Y. M., et al., 2015, pp 329). The immigrant women have poor physical and psychological health that needs intervention through the PAR approach. This has been a great concern to the relevant stakeholders as the recent trends of globalization and its characteristic technologies such as internet dating accelerating trends of immigration in these nations.

Thesis Statement

The research paper was aimed at determining whether Immigrant Taiwan women suffered discrimination, health care illiteracy, low self-esteem and inability to build healthy networks; and whether the PAR-based project would alleviate the above conditions.

Significant Findings

After working with 68 women from different countries in Asia, the research found that many of the immigrant women were suffering from poor health. Since the PAR seeks to find direct solutions from the interviews with the participants, the study came up with four key areas that need the attention. The four areas include increasing health literacy, improving the capacity of the women to build social networks, making the women feel self-worth, and increasing the emotional or psychological resilience. According to Yang, Y. M., et al., the immigrant wives have poor health lifestyles because of several factors such as communication, poor literacy, low self-esteem and change of climate (2015, pp. 140). The sampled women came from countries that do not speak either Mandarin or Taiwanese. Hence, the foreign wives take time before they can freely interact with the locals. The main problems often occur during pregnancy because many of them cannot express their health issues to the physicians. Besides, the majority of the brides coming to Taiwan are from poor backgrounds where they did not have access to quality healthcare. There are great chances that most go through both the physical and social trauma which directly affects their health as they go through a tough social isolation. This is worsened by the fact that they do not have friends or relatives in the new country to speak to and share their personal problems. When they face conflicts in their marriages, they become depressed without any source of help from their immediate environment.

Literature Review

The study analyzed literature from different parts of the world as it relates to the phenomena under study in Taiwan. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that in the United States where people from different parts of the world move to, the immigrant population always faces challenges adjusting to the new environment (Yang, Y. M., et al., 2015, pp 136). Besides the challenging process of gaining legal documents to reside in the country, the immigrants have to adapt to the new culture and physical environment. Wang and Yang agree that the population imbalance in Asia will continue to drive many men across borders in search of wives. The proliferation of social media groups that cuts across borders also encourages individuals to look for soul mates from other countries. Some people are taking advantage of the impoverished and desperate women to lure them into sex trade where they are exploited and many women who succeed in finding foreign husbands are disappointed with their new life where they have to start their social lives from zero. The desperation often takes a toll on their physical health.

Future Implications

In the past, many communities were conservative and could not allow for intermarriages, especially with individuals from different countries. However, with globalization, people are today welcoming the idea of meeting new people online and settling in marriage. However, the trend will open new challenges for the many women who make the decision of venturing in far off countries in such of love and a better life (Yang, Y. M., et al., 2015, pp. 136). The current study identifies the issue of health as one of the problems facing the immigrant wives in Taiwan. Middlemen would take over the business of handing over young girls to men who want to own a sex slave instead of a wife. However, Kreps and Sparks think that the situation can improve for the foreign women if the authorities from the receiving country put in place programs to help them adjust quickly and gain health awareness to avoid the many prevailing ailments in these countries (Yang, Y. M., et al., 2015, pp.139). They point out at the current stigmatization of imported wives as one of the issues authorities have to deal with in future.


It is clear that the method adopted was effective in bringing out the themes of the study and exhibiting how factors such as health illiteracy, low self-esteem, and discrimination adversely affected the lives of the immigrant women in Taiwan. Since the method of data collection was open-ended, the study facilitated comprehensive platform in which the participants shared their experiences and gave opinions on how to alleviate their living conditions (Yang, Y. M., et al., 2015, pp. 140). Through the findings of this study, other stakeholders from various parts of the globe can rely on this information to come up with practical solutions especially for the betterment of the quality of life of women immigrants such as building their resilience.


Yang, Y. M., et al., (2015). Health Empowerment Among Immigrant Women in Transnational Marriages in Taiwan. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 047(2), 135-142. Retrieved From

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