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Dissertation

Towards an understanding of diveristy in the lives of Iranian-American women

20 July 2004

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation is to bridge the gap between women's issues among Iranian-Americans and the knowledge base of psychologists. The integration of cultural diversity into clinical practice is now a standard expectation of licensed psychologists. However, a tremendous disparity exists between published psychological literature and the everyday concerns and life experiences of Iranian-American women. A . multidisciplinary literature of Iranian-American women's issues is identified and critically reviewed with regard to research methods and potential for cultural learning. Methodological trends and specific challenges faced in conducting social science research with Iranian immigrants are discussed. Methodology review criteria for quantitative, literature review, and qualitative studies are developed and applied to the identified works. Taken from the psychological literature, Hays' ADDRESSING framework (2001) is utilized in this study as a transcultural model to identify clinically relevant cultural factors discussed in the review literature. A critique determining how effectively specific cultural factors from Hays' framework have been given scholarly attention follows, and a rating system is applied. Alternative data resources are discussed in order to offer examples of how a main body of research can be augmented, when necessary, through an examination of cultural surround. Cultural information essential to the understanding of Iranian-American women's issues is summarized. It is proposed that· meaningful cultural learning is most successfully approached as an interdisciplinary effort. The strengths and limitations of applying Hays' framework in the Iranian-American context are illuminated, along with several suggested adaptations.


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