Two becoming one: immigrant Indian women sustaining self and well-being through doing: a grounded theory study

Nayar, Shoba C
Wilson, Jan
Hocking, Clare
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Master of Health Science
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Auckland University of Technology

Using a grounded theory methodology, this research sought to describe the occupational change process Indian women experience as they settle in a new environment, with a focus on how they sustain their sense of self and well-being. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with eight women of Indian origin who had immigrated to New Zealand within the past five years in an attempt to generate theory about the processes that these immigrants' experience. A constant comparative analysis revealed a central change process, Two Becoming One, which encompassed three interconnecting occupational processes. The first process women experience is Oh God, Where Did I Come?. In this process, where the environment is new and unfamiliar, the women feel compelled to do familiar activities that they know they can accomplish, thus increasing confidence and supporting well-being. The second process, Being In The Change, sees the women learning more about their new environment and engaging in new occupations, while continuing to hold on to doing familiar activities. A New Zealander with an Indian Soul finds the women doing more as they embrace a strengthening sense of self and well-being and strive to build their future in a new land. Central to these three processes is the core category Two Becoming One. This process is a commentary on the women's journeys of integrating the demands of two cultures, each with its own unique environment and ways of doing things, while supporting a healthy sense of self and well-being throughout the experience. The study findings demonstrate the dynamic interplay that occurs within a person-environment-occupation interface. Situating the findings within current literature reveals the limitation of previous understandings of the person-environment-occupation dynamic, in relation to people performing in an unfamiliar environment. With an increasing trend of immigration worldwide, this study brings to light the importance of understanding the bearing that environmental context has on occupation and the resulting impact for persons' sense of self and well-being. Further research in this area is required to gain deeper awareness of the ways in which people interact with their environment over time, and the resultant effect on occupation.

Women immigrants , Attitudes , Women, East Indian , Emigration and immigration , Occupational therapy , Health Studies
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