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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Educational decision-making in Asian Indian women: A study on identity development

Author: Saluja,-Gitanjali
Author Background: U North Carolina At Chapel Hill, US
Date 2/2000
Type Dissertation
Journal Title: Dissertation-Abstracts-International-Section-A:-Humanities-and-Social-Sciences
Volume/Pages Vol 60(7-A): 2375
Subject Matter Asian Indian Americans, Research, Self-Concept
Abstract Little is known about (1) the factors which influence the high achievement and high educational attainment of Asian American individuals, and (2) the conflicts experienced by Asian Americans as they form their identities and make life decisions. This dissertation examined the educational decision making processes of Asian Indian women. I used the identity status approach , an approach developed by James Marcia (1966), as a framework for understanding their identity development. I interviewed ten Asian Indian women in their final year of college and classified them according to tour identity status categories: foreclosures, moratoriums, identity achievers and identity diffusers. These categories represent the degree of conflict, or crises, that individuals encounter as they forge their identities. Consistent with other research (Josselson, 1987), the women in this study differed in their exploration of different careers and in their commitment to a particular career. However, regardless of their identity status, all the women had selected college majors that would lead to occupations with high status, job stability, and good salaries. The educational decisions of these women were also influenced by a common set of factors. These included parental influence, marriage and family plans, and cultural expectations. Whereas prior research has suggested that individuals, especially men, develop an identity through the process of separation and individuation, the women in the present study reported close family relations. Furthermore, the commitment of these women to their families seemed to be important for maintaining their cultural identity. Additional research is needed on the identity formation of ethnic minorities and the unique issues influencing these developmental processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)