Date of Award

Summer 8-18-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Gerontology Institute

First Advisor

Dr. Candace L. Kemp

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary M. Ball

Third Advisor

Dr. Molly M. Perkins


Within the context of ongoing social and demographic transformation, including the trend towards globalization, changing patterns of longevity and increasing ethnic diversity, this thesis examines the lives older Asian-Indian immigrants in the United States. To date, much of what little research exists on this group of elders focuses on acculturation and related stress, but there is limited research on the daily life experiences of these older adults, particularly as they pertain to family life, the practice of filial piety, and informal support exchange within their households, as well as their social lives more generally. Informed by two theoretical approaches, Life Course and Symbolic Interactionism, this research examines older immigrants’ social and family lives. The study employs a qualitative approach and involves in-depth semi-structured interviews with 10 older Asian-Indians living in the Atlanta area. To varying degrees, their lives are family-centered. Traditional Indian practices such as filial piety are individualized according to the intersection of American and Indian cultures and family (e.g., structure and history) and personal (e.g., personal resources) influences. Similar influences operate to shape their family and social lives more generally. These findings enhance existing understandings of older immigrants’ lives and illustrate similarities and differences. In doing so, the research provides valuable information that can promote cultural competence for those working with and designing policies and programs for adults in a rapidly aging and increasingly diverse society.


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Sociology Commons