Date of Award

12-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Chwalisz, Kathleen

Abstract

Sexual health is an integral part of the overall well-being of women of color. Information about the sexual health of Asian Indian women who are brought up within the U.S. and the contextual factors which play a role in their views on sexual health is lacking. Even less is known about the experience and impact of navigating two sets of cultural beliefs (i.e., that of their heritage culture and that of the dominant U.S. society) on sexual health development for Asian Indian women raised in the U.S. The proposed study is designed to understand the sexual health perspectives of Asian Indian women raised in the U.S. This study was a qualitative investigation conducted in order to identify how sexual health is conceptualized by Asian Indian women who are exposed to the sexual health values and norms of the mainstream U.S. society and that of their heritage culture. Eleven heterosexual Asian Indian women, of 1.5 and second generation, were interviewed in person and over the phone. During the interview process participants defined their perspectives on sexual health and identified sociocultural factors which played a role in how they conceptualized sexual health. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the data. The core phenomenon of this study, referred to as a storyline, revolved around participants struggle to navigate two opposing cultures, their views on sexual health, and the process by which they formulated their perspectives. Consistent with past research on 1.5 and second generation South Asian women, experiences related to sexual health for this sample were impacted by traditional cultural values, the norms of mainstream society, and participants' individual momentum.

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