South Asian Immigrant Marriage Attitudes Study

Marriage has become the focus of an intergenerational battle among the South Asian immigrant population in the United States. While first-generation immigrants of all origins struggle to adapt to Western culture over time (Negy, Schwartz, & Reig-Ferrer, 2009), their second-generation children are more adept at assimilating into the mainstream (Tummala-Narra, 2013). Researchers have highlighted areas in which immigrant parents struggle with their children’s developing bicultural identities, including dress codes, choice of schooling (i.e., religious versus secular), and dating practices (Daneshpour, 2009). As second-generation South Asian immigrants are now reaching early adulthood, issues surrounding dating practices have evolved into issues surrounding marriage. Many first-generation South Asian immigrants are accustomed to an “arranged marriage” system in which individuals’ spouses are selected by their elder family members, whereas their children have become accustomed to the dominant “love marriage” system in the US in which individuals independently select their spouses after engaging in a courtship process.

The South Asian Immigrant Marriage Attitudes Study seeks to better understand first-generation South Asian immigrants’(SAI) attitudes towards love marriage versus arranged marriage for their children who have grown up in the US. This study is being led by Zahra Amer. Zahra is conducting semi-structured qualitative interviews with first-generation SAIs in order to better understand some of the struggles SAI families are facing as they grapple with their evolving (or not-so-evolving) definitions of marriage.

For more information about this project, feel free to contact Zahra Amer at