Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Experiences of identity crises: Perspectives from East Asian American lesbians
by Spyker, Meghan, Psy.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, 216; 3539745
Abstract (Summary)

This study investigated the precipitants, experiences, coping strategies, and outcomes of identity crises in eight East Asian American lesbians. Participants were first, second, or third generation Asian American lesbians with at least one parent or grandparent born in China or Korea. A qualitative, narrative methodology was used to limit the imposition of a Western worldview and bring out the unique details of each woman's story.

The literature supported some precipitants, experiences, coping strategies, and outcomes to crises reported by participants. This research also found that racism, homophobia, and violence in the home precipitated some identity crises. Participants continued to deal with racism and homophobia during the crisis period, and many abandoned and/or favored one or more identities during this period. In coping with the crisis, many relied on supportive relationships, personal beliefs, supportive aspects of different cultural identities, and created a more inclusive identity. Outcomes to crises included ongoing conflict and evolution of identity, acceptance of identity, and embracing of identity.

Other unique findings of this research include the potential impact of abuse on identity development, the impact of the diversity of the environment and historical context on identity development, and the potential positive impact of legalizing same-sex marriage on Asian American families. In addition, participants highlighted their experience of culturally incompetent psychotherapists. By fleshing out the journeys through identity crises for eight Asian American lesbians, this research expands the literature concerning Asian American lesbians.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Nzewi, Esther
Commitee: Ladany, Nicholas
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 74/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Asian American Studies, Social psychology, GLBT Studies, Developmental psychology, Psychology
Keywords: Asian Americans, Identity, Identity crisis, Lesbian, Narrative methodology
Publication Number: 3539745
ISBN: 9781267641922
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