Date of Conferral





Human Services


Scott L. Hershberger


African immigrant couples encounter postimmigration acculturative challenges that impact the foundation of their marriages. The purpose of this case study was to explore the postimmigration challenges that immigrant African couples face and how they manage with the acculturative challenges. The theoretical foundation that guided this study was Social Exchange Theory (SET). This study included interviews of 5 couples of African descent who were married in their home countries before migrating to the United States and who have lived for 5 years or more in Massachusetts. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed. The HyperResearch Qualitative Analysis software was used to analyze the themes and categories (see Booth, Sundstrom, DeMaria, & Dempsey, 2018). From the data analysis, the following postimmigration acculturative challenges and experiences emerged: cultural differences, transitional challenges, communication, finance, couple conflicts, alteration of roles and responsibilities, and conflict resolution. The couples identified that differences in cultures, social norms, and structures between their native cultures and that of the new country contributed to their acculturative challenges. Further, participants indicated that role alterations between couples, such as women's autonomy and economic capacity, shifted the balance of power in couples who came from male-dominated cultures. The role changes fueled the majority of their relationship challenges partly because the men felt a loss of power and control in their relationships. This study leads to positive social change by showing the need for service providers to consider cultural context as they design programs for this immigrant population.