Methods: Using convenience sampling method, participants (N=30; 13 females & 17 males) were recruited to participate in four focus groups that were conducted on 2 college campuses (1 rural and 1 metropolitan) with an average of 7 -8 participants in each focus group. The sessions were audio-taped and later transcribed. Qualitative coding involved the researcher assigning “a summative, salient, essence-capturing, and/or evocative attribute for a portion of language-based data” (Saldaña, 2013, p. 3). Coding included in Vivo, descriptive, process and emotional coding resulting in categories and then shared themes.
Results: All participants (ages 19-32) attended university (87% in graduate school and the rest were undergraduates). Twenty-six percent of the participants were either born in the U.S or raised in the U.S. The rest were in the U.S for higher education. Four distinct themes (a) gender role ambiguity (i.e. participants explained various influences of their background (whether brought up in South Asia or in the U.S) in defining social identity, gender roles and societal expectations on their perception of IPV), (b) “don’t expect a race horse out of a donkey,” (i.e. most males who immigrated for higher education wavered between their strong patriarchal upbringing and the pressure of adopting more egalitarian belief systems by being in the U.S.) (c) acculturation and interpersonal violence (-this was related to changing attitudes and behaviors in relation to interpersonal violence depending on their length of stay in the U.S (whether recent immigrants, first generation or second generation South Asian Americans), and (d) “charity begins at home” (participants [both males & females] discussed to lead by example, by adopting healthier and democratic principles) emerged from the participants' discussion.
Implications: Important implications for social work research and practice include how gender, culture, socialization process, immigration and other sociocultural factors influence South Asian youths’ perception of IPV. Youth can play important roles by openly engaging in dialogues about gender roles and expectations, effects of violence on women and children, and related health and mental health issues.