Psychiatry Investig Search


Psychiatry Investigation 2006;3(1):46-54.
Conceptualization of Jeong and Dynamics of Hwabyung
Christopher K. Chung, MD; and Samson J. Cho, MD
Department of Psychiatry, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, CA, USA

Jeong is an experience distinctive to those from a Korean heritage. Its definition is, as most things rooted deep within a culture, both simple and complex. In essence, jeong refers to the emotional and psychological bonds that join Koreans; it permeates all levels, dividing the world into different degrees of us/we versus them. The uniqueness of this phenomenon lies in its ubiquity and its source: the collective nature of Korean society. When this bond is broken, however, other culturally unique phenomena arise: haan and hwabyung. Haan is essentially the intense suppressed anger that arises from the violation of jeong. At times, haan can evolve to hwabyung or "anger syndrome," which includes many somatic elements. Therefore, hwabyung cannot rise without the initial presence of jeong and is considered a Korean culture-bound disorder. Those with borderline personality disorder (BPD), in contrast, seek relationships pathologically in "Western," individualistic societies where autonomy, independence, and privacy are highly valued. A comparative analysis of the socio-cultural dynamics of hwabyung, directly tied to Korea's jeong-based collective culture, and BPD, a mal-adaptation to a Western autonomy-emphasized culture, can provide insight into the nature of these respective societies and in developing treatment strategies for these contrasting disorders.

Key words   <i>Jeong</i>;<i>Haan</i>;<i>Hwabyung</i>;Anger syn-drome;Borderline personality disorder.
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