Publication Date

5-2009

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Ryland White

Abstract

Resettling in a new world as refugees from Southeast Asia, the Hmong have faced many issues as they have built their new lives in the United States. For over 35 years, the Hmong have scattered throughout the United States for various reasons: education, economic gains, and family. This study explored a major issue facing the Hmong community, divorce. In particular, the study explored the life experiences and perceptions of divorced Hmong women amongst themselves and in their communities. The research author interviewed seven Hmong women via the following data gathering techniques: face-to-face interviews, snowballing and observation through the phenomenology approach. The study answered the following primary question: Considering there is no place for divorce in the Hmong culture, what have been some of the life experiences of Hmong women who ended their marriage in divorce in the United States? The following sub-questions allowed for elaboration: 1) what effects does divorce have on Hmong women, 2) what are some challenges divorced Hmong women may face on a daily basis and how are these challenges resolved, if so, 3) how do Hmong women feel about themselves after the divorce, and 4) how can the Hmong community best understand and help divorced Hmong women? The results of this research are as follows: echoing what literature has revealed, participants have faced numerous challenges as Hmong women. After divorce, the life experiences of Hmong women changed drastically with no doubt. Participants expressed their challenges and emotional distress ranging from raising children to having support financially and socially to dealing with societal pressure. However, to the most part, they are happy with their decisions and the path(s) they have taken thus far in their lives. They are living the life as they wished.

This study is part of a growing body of research on Hmong-American issues in the United States by one of its own members in the community. In using personal experiences, observations, face to face interviews, story and oral histories of Hmong women, this study is a contribution to research on the Hmong-American experiences.

Disciplines

International and Intercultural Communication | Social Psychology

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