The South Asian American population growth rate is high, however, there is little research regarding their mental health concerns and low utilization of services. One of the most understudied and complex issues is the interpersonal relationships of South Asian women, specifically the relationship between a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law. This study is a first to examine the relationship between a South Asian daughter-in-law and mother-in-law living in the US through a combination of feminist and relational-cultural perspectives. Also investigated are the help-seeking sources daughter-in-laws use for personal/emotional and domestic violence concerns. Participants in this web-based, descriptive study were 155 married (or previously married) South Asian American women (ages 18-69), who had a mother-in-law. Most identified as Muslims or Hindus. T-tests, correlations, and standard multiple regression analyses were used to examine the relationship between the daughter-in-laws' perceptions of their relationship with their mother-in-laws, cultural values, and formal and informal help-seeking for personal/emotional and domestic violence issues. Instruments used were adapted to be culturally sensitive. Thirty-five percent of the participants reported psychological abuse and 23% reported emotional abuse by their mother-in-laws. All identified caring and controlling aspects of their relationship with their mother-in-law. Most of the women did not meet full criteria for partner violence, however the daughter-in-law/mother-in-law relationship differed between the women who were abused by their partner and those who were not. Perceived care and control from mother-in-law was related to daughter-in-law's sex role expectations, partner violence, and help-seeking. Daughter-in-law's help-seeking sources differed depending on the type of problem; as with previous studies and cultural expectations most identified informal help-seeking sources. Higher care from mother-in-law predicted lower help-seeking intentions from mother-in-law for personal issues and domestic violence. Sex role expectations and partner violence predicted help-seeking from minister for personal issues. Intimate relations and partner violence predicted higher likelihood of help-seeking from minister for domestic violence. To promote interpersonal health among South Asian American women, it is necessary to explore and comprehend the nature of in-law relationships and study both positive and the negative in-law relationships. Implications of these findings for women's personal relationships, for clinical work and future research needs are discussed.
|Advisor:||Jacobs, Sue C.|
|Commitee:||Crethar, Hugh, McGaha, Valerie, Mwavita, Mwarumba, Romans, John|
|School:||Oklahoma State University|
|Department:||Education (all programs)|
|School Location:||United States -- Oklahoma|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Womens studies, Individual & family studies, South Asian Studies|
|Keywords:||Cultural values, Domestic violence, Help-seeking, Personal/emotional issues, Relational-cultural, South asian american women|
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