Phyllis Johnson

Associate Professor

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Master's Student Supervision (2010-2017)
Indian immigrant women's post-divorce experience (2012)

The post-divorce experience has been the topic of much research in Western, industrialized nations. Little is known about the experiences of women from non-Western countries who have immigrated to Western countries. This study explores the post-divorce experiences of immigrant women from India who came to Canada with their husbands and subsequently got divorced. This study examines the economic, social, and residential changes these women faced after their divorces; the resources they used to cope with the changes; and the effects of their religions on their attitudes towards divorce. Qualitative data were collected via face-to-face interviews. Six women from Hindu and Sikh backgrounds, residing in the Greater Vancouver area, took part in this study. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the data. As expected from previous findings, participants experienced a significant decrease in their incomes; their social networks diminished; and most left their marital residence. Most participants did not receive their share of the marital property, which is a key contrast to the experience of non-Indian women from the Western world. Contrary to previous studies that suggested South Asian women experience banishment from their families, every participant stated that she received full support from her family. The last finding concerns the influence of religion on the way these women perceived divorce. All participants emphasized individual spirituality, as well as education, to be more influential than the religious prescription of divorce in how they perceived divorce. This study is an exploratory study and it is limited by the small sample size.

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