TitleImportance of marriage for Asian Indian women in the U.S.
NameRathor, Snigdha Ramesh (author), Riggs Skean, Karen (chair), Boyd-Franklin, Nancy (co-chair), Rutgers University, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology,
Women, East Indian—Marriage customs and rites--United States,
Women, East Indian--United States—Social life and customs—20th century,
Women, East Indian--United States—Social life and customs—21st century
DescriptionThroughout the past century and across various cultures, the concept of marriage has significantly changed from being a union between two families to a union between two individuals. The change has penetrated South Asia, despite collectivism being the norm in Asian Indian culture. The current exploratory study was done to investigate an unexamined area of research namely, the pressure experienced by unmarried Asian Indian women in the United States. A qualitative research design combining ethnographic and grounded theory was used. Ten interviews were conducted with heterosexual, Asian Indian, Hindu women, above the age of 25, and raised in the United States. Four main research questions were addressed: (1) What pressures do family and community put on Asian Indian women to get married (2) What effect does remaining unmarried have on Asian Indian women (3) How do certain factors (i.e., past relationships, religion, skin color, and education) affect how desirable these women are to others, and how desirable they feel? and (4) What are Asian Indian women’s perspectives on marriage? The interview data collected were analyzed to uncover qualitative themes. These themes included the following: the women interviewed felt that all Asian Indian women were born to be brides, that Asian Indian women did not go through a process of separation-individuation as defined in Western psychology, that parents experienced a great deal of shame if their daughters remained unmarried, that a great amount of interpersonal conflict with family and friends resulted from staying single, and that most women had felt that they needed to get married before the age of thirty. Although several of the women interviewed stated that they were ambivalent about the idea of marrying someone of Indian origin, the women felt that several factors affected how desirable they were to other members of the Indian community. The findings of this study suggest important implications for clinical psychology training for mental health clinicians. The study suggests that therapists should have an increased understanding of the difference in separation-individuation between Western and Asian Indian culture, the importance of an Asian Indian woman’s external presentation, and the extreme shame that these women may experience by remaining single.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Snigdha Ramesh Rathor
CollectionGraduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.