Deepa Patel, Ph.D., is a 2021 graduate of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Janet Robertson, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Lucille Byno, PhD, Committee Member
  • Cadmona Hall, PhD, Committee Member


Desi, Desi couples, gender roles, gender norms

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Due to the lack of research on the Desi community, this qualitative study was the first of its kind to investigate the process of gender role expectation and negotiation style among second generation Desi couples. Previous research provided awareness of unequal treatment amongst the male and female genders within the patriarchal structure of the Desi community. However, this study provided a unique understanding on Desi couples’ perspective on gender dynamics. Six couples, ages 25- 35, who were married for at least 3 years and identified as second generation Desi were interviewed in order to gain a deeper understanding of gender role experiences. With in-depth interviews, phenomenological qualitative research on the experience of gender role expectation and negotiation explored these factors: influence of gender role and gender role development, division of labor, dismantling patriarchy, unconscious bias, financial decisions, becoming parents, conversations on gender roles, and conflict resolution. These six couples self- reported how their relationship is impacted by gender role dynamics as they create an egalitarian relationship. Some suggestions for therapeutic interventions are included in the clinical considerations. The limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are also discussed.


Deepa Patel

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0002-8052-0617