This qualitative study set out to describe the process of developing a more integrated bicultural identity for second-generation South Asian women as they transitioned from adolescence into adulthood in a Western, pluralistic culture. Through semi-structured interviews, the researcher identified critical incidents that illuminated the participants’ dual identities and caused them to think about their identities in a different way.
Analysis of the results illuminated four domains related to the bicultural identity development of second-generation South Asian women: (a) Feeling Different, (b) The Imposter Syndrome, (c) Family Connections, and (d) Finding Authenticity.
This exploratory study suggests that the journey toward an integrated, bicultural identity is not linear. That is, some incidents and relationships may cause one to feel more positively about how compatible one's cultures are, where another event may have a more negative impact. Also, a similar critical incident may impact two second-generation South Asian women quite differently, depending on where she was in her bicultural identity development at the time the incident occurred. This, then, seems to be the overarching theme of this research: second-generation South Asian women appear to be attempting to find an "authentic identity" that encompasses their Indian and American values.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2009. Major: Educational Psychology. Advisor: Michael P. Goh. 1 computer file (PDF); ix, 121 pages, appendices A-F.Ill. map (col.)
Critical incidents in the identity development of second-generation South Asian women..
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