Date of Conferral







Tony Hobson


AbstractDespite the research on how mental illness manifests in the United States, there is more to be known about mental health in the Pakistani American population. The goal of this qualitative phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of Pakistani American women who sought mental health treatment. Ecological theory provided the framework for the study. Data were collected from semi structured interviews with 10 participants via telephone and face-to-face conversations. Data were analyzed using managing, reading, memoing, describing, classifying, interpreting, representing, and visualizing techniques. Findings indicated that seeking help for mental health played a positive role in participants being able to deal with their issues. Participants preferred having someone within the family to speak with regarding their perceived problems. Participants also reported struggles they encountered when trying to seek help, including cultural stigmas around women bringing shame upon their family with this perceived weakness. Participants viewed mental illness as being lost spiritually and as something that cannot be explained all the time, and they described the frustration of an unseen burden they believed they were destined to carry alone. Findings may be used by mental health professionals when working with Pakistani American female patients leading to positive social change for the patients.