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Phenomenological experiences of relationships among Indian females in caste-endogamous choice marriages Pradhan, Kesha 2018

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 PHENOMENOLOGICAL EXPERIENCES OF RELATIONSHIPS AMONG INDIAN FEMALES IN CASTE-ENDOGAMOUS CHOICE MARRIAGES by  Kesha Pradhan  B.A., The University of British Columbia, 2012  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Counselling Psychology)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)   August 2018  © Kesha Pradhan, 2018   ii The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, a thesis/dissertation entitled:  Phenomenological Experiences of Relationships Among Indian Females in Caste-Endogamous Choice Marriages  submitted by Kesha Pradhan  in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts In Counselling Psychology   Examining Committee: Robinder P. Bedi, Counselling Psychology  Supervisor    Marla Buchanan, Counselling Psychology Supervisory Committee Member  Hartej Gill, Educational Studies Supervisory Committee Member  Additional Examiner    iii Abstract In India, social developments have facilitated changes in traditional arranged marriage customs and introduced an alternative option, choice marriage (Allendorf, 2013; Netting, 2010).  Deviating from the cultural norm can have adverse consequences, with many individuals in choice marriages reporting negative consequences in their relationships (Raval, Raval, & Raj, 2010; Rocca, Rathod, Falle, Pande, & Krishnan, 2009).  Women in choice marriages are at a particular risk for adverse consequence because having a choice marriage means that they are defying the common gender roles prescribed to them by Indian society (Allendorf, 2016).  Nevertheless, individuals who engage in choice marriages rarely do so across caste lines.  These marriages continue to be largely endogamous (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Dhar, 2013).  To better understand the phenomenon of Indian women‘s relationships after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage, six Indian women were interviewed.  The study used an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach, guided by the research question, ―What is the meaning of close relationships for Indian females who are in caste-endogamous choice marriages?‖  Indian women identified relationships with their caregivers to have been most impacted by their caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Common aspects of the experience of relationships after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage were identified from interviews.  The results found that six themes were common to their relationship experiences after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage: (1) support, (2) connection, (3) responsibility for elders, (4) responsibility for marriage, (5) validation, and (6) respect.  Implications of the study‘s findings for counsellors who are working with Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages and their close relationships are addressed.    iv Lay Summary In India, marriage practices are changing from arranged marriages to choice marriages, the latter of which continue to predominantly be among individuals of the same caste (Allendorf, 2013; Dhar, 2013).  Choice marriage individuals often report adverse consequences in their close relationships (Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  Indian women in choice marriages are at particular risk for adverse consequences because they are defying socially prescribed gender roles (Allendorf, 2016).  In this study, six Indian women who engaged in a choice marriage with someone of the same caste participated in in-depth interviews about their experiences in their close relationships after having a choice marriage.  Six common themes were identified: (1) support, (2) connection, (3) responsibility for elders, (4) responsibility for marriage, (5) validation, and (6) respect.  These findings may help counsellors who are working with Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages better understand them and their experiences.    v Preface This thesis is the original, unpublished, and independent work by the author, Kesha Pradhan.  The research design, participant recruitment, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript write-up were completed by the author.  Research team members, Alana Schmidt and Millie Batta, provided support with transcribing and the data auditing process.  Dr. Robinder P. Bedi, the research supervisor, provided overall assistance throughout the research process, Dr. Marla Buchanan, provided methodological guidance, and Dr. Hartej Gill contributed as a committee member. This research was conducted with the approval of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Office of Research Services (ORS), Behavioural Research Ethics Board (BREB).  The certificate number of the ethics certification obtained for this study was H17-02845, using the project title ―Phenomenological Experiences of Relationships among Indian Females in Caste-Endogamous Choice Marriages.‖   vi Table of Contents Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... iii Lay Summary ............................................................................................................................... iv Preface .............................................................................................................................................v Table of Contents ......................................................................................................................... vi List of Tables ..................................................................................................................................x List of Figures ............................................................................................................................... xi Acknowledgements ..................................................................................................................... xii Dedication ................................................................................................................................... xiii Chapter 1: Introduction ................................................................................................................1 1.1 Problem Statement .......................................................................................................... 6 1.2 Purpose of the Proposed Study ....................................................................................... 6 1.3 Significance of the Study ................................................................................................ 7 Chapter 2: Literature Review .......................................................................................................9 2.1 Marriage in India............................................................................................................. 9 2.1.1 India‘s Culture: Collectivism .................................................................................... 10 2.1.2 Traditional Arranged Marriage as an Enactment of Collectivism ............................ 10 2.1.3 Choice Marriage as an Enactment of Individualism ................................................. 12 2.1.4 Marital Change.......................................................................................................... 13 2.1.5 Contemporary Marriage Practices in India ............................................................... 17 2.2 Gender ........................................................................................................................... 23 2.2.1 Gender, India, and Marriage ..................................................................................... 24 2.2.2 Gender and Choice Marriage .................................................................................... 26   vii 2.3 Caste .............................................................................................................................. 27 2.4 Limitations of Previous Research ................................................................................. 28 2.5 Current Study ................................................................................................................ 31 Chapter 3: Method .......................................................................................................................35 3.1 Philosophical Assumptions of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis .................. 35 3.1.1 Phenomenology......................................................................................................... 36 3.1.2 Hermeneutics ............................................................................................................ 37 3.1.3 Idiography ................................................................................................................. 40 3.1.4 IPA and the Current Study ........................................................................................ 40 3.2 Research Design............................................................................................................ 41 3.2.1 Sample....................................................................................................................... 41 3.2.2 Sample Size ............................................................................................................... 43 3.2.3 Participant Recruitment ............................................................................................ 44 3.3 Participants .................................................................................................................... 45 3.4 Data Collection ............................................................................................................. 47 3.5 Data Analysis ................................................................................................................ 53 3.6 Reflexivity..................................................................................................................... 59 3.7 Quality of Research....................................................................................................... 61 3.7.1 Social Validity .......................................................................................................... 62 3.7.2 Subjectivity and Reflexivity ..................................................................................... 63 3.7.3 Adequacy of Data ..................................................................................................... 64 3.7.4 Adequacy of Interpretation ....................................................................................... 65 3.8 Anticipated Ethical Issues ............................................................................................. 67   viii Chapter 4: Findings .....................................................................................................................71 4.1 Important Other(s) Identified ........................................................................................ 71 4.2 Participant Biographies ................................................................................................. 72 4.2.1 Aditi .......................................................................................................................... 72 4.2.2 Anika ......................................................................................................................... 72 4.2.3 Diya ........................................................................................................................... 73 4.2.4 Jessi ........................................................................................................................... 74 4.2.5 Mansi......................................................................................................................... 74 4.2.6 Priya .......................................................................................................................... 75 4.3 Collective Themes ........................................................................................................ 75 4.3.1 Connection ................................................................................................................ 78 4.3.2 Support ...................................................................................................................... 82 4.3.3 Responsibility for Elders........................................................................................... 87 4.3.4 Responsibility for Marriage ...................................................................................... 90 4.3.5 Validation .................................................................................................................. 95 4.3.6 Respect ...................................................................................................................... 97 4.3.7 Conclusion ................................................................................................................ 98 Chapter 5: Discussion ................................................................................................................100 5.1 Embedding the Results in the Literature ..................................................................... 100 5.1.1 Demographic Characteristics Associated with Choice Marriage ........................... 100 5.1.2 Choice Marriage Experiences in India .................................................................... 103 5.1.3 ―Saving Face‖ ......................................................................................................... 107 5.1.4 Filial Piety ............................................................................................................... 109   ix 5.2 Implications for Mental Health Professionals............................................................. 112 5.3 Limitations .................................................................................................................. 113 5.4 Recommendations for Future Research ...................................................................... 120 5.5 Conclusion .................................................................................................................. 122 References ...................................................................................................................................123 Appendices ..................................................................................................................................139 Appendix A : Initial Letter of Contact .................................................................................... 139 Appendix B : Flyer/Advertisement ......................................................................................... 140 Appendix C : Informed Consent ............................................................................................. 142 Appendix D : Demographic Questionnaire............................................................................. 148 Appendix E : Interview Schedule ........................................................................................... 149 Appendix F : Referral List ...................................................................................................... 151 Appendix G : Transcription Instructions ................................................................................ 152 Appendix H : Research Auditor Training ............................................................................... 154 Appendix I : Results Submitted to Expert Reviewers ............................................................ 155 Appendix J : Expert Peer Reviewer Comments ...................................................................... 181 Appendix K : Participant Demographics ................................................................................ 185    x List of Tables Table 3.1 Participant Demographics ............................................................................................. 46 Table 3.2 Participant Demographics Continued ........................................................................... 47 Table 4.1 Important Other(s) Identified ........................................................................................ 71 Table 4.2 Prevalence of Final Themes .......................................................................................... 76 Table 4.3 Definition of Final Six Themes .................................................................................... 77 Table 4.4 Overview of the Distinct Characteristics of the Connection Experience ..................... 78 Table 4.5 Overview of the Distinct Characteristics of the Support Experience ........................... 83 Table 4.6 Overview of the Distinct Characteristics of the Responsibility for Elders Experience 87 Table 4.7 Overview of the Distinct Characteristics of the Responsibility for Marriage Experience....................................................................................................................................................... 90   xi List of Figures Figure 2.1 Bronfenbrenner‘s Process-Person-Context-Time (PPCT) model ............................... 34    xii Acknowledgements I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to my research supervisor, Dr. Robinder Bedi.  Your continual efforts to help me learn foundational research skills, pushing me to strive to do quality research, continuous support, and words of encouragement have been an integral part of this research process.  A special thanks to my research committee members, Dr. Marla Buchanan and Dr. Hartej Gill for their thoughtful perspectives, valuable contributions, and insightful feedback.  To my research team members, Aastha Sahdev, Alana Schmidt and Millie Batta, without whom I would still be in the process of recruiting participants and transcribing research interviews.  And last but not least, a heartfelt appreciation to the Indian women who volunteered their time and shared their stories, without whom this study would not have been possible. Thank you, to everyone involved.      xiii Dedication For my mom and dad.   1 Chapter 1: Introduction Culture plays a pivotal role in defining and transmitting the ideas, beliefs, habits, and practices of individuals who share a similar context as well as the nature of their relationships (Heine, 2008).  Marriage traditions are a particular practice that is heavily influenced by cultural context.  For example, collective cultures, such as India, have strong and extensive kinship networks that tend to have a high degree of influence over an individual‘s selection of a marital partner (Buunk, Park, & Duncan, 2010; Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996).  In India, and in other collectivist cultures1, this tends to manifest as a long-standing tradition of arranged marriage.  As such, selecting one‘s own spouse against the wishes of one‘s kin defies traditional customs and can impact individuals‘ relationships.  ―Love marriage,‖ as it is colloquially referred to, has been equated to a variety of terms in the academic literature, such as self-choice (Allendorf, 2013), self-selected (Twamley, 2013), self-arranged (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016), or autonomous (Epstein, Pandit, & Thakar, 2013) marriage and will be referred to as ―choice marriage‖ for this paper.  Choice marriages, which still occur relatively infrequently in India (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Desai & Andrist, 2010; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008; Lall, 2006), are more common in individualistic societies, such as Canada, where an emphasis on romantic love and marriage is viewed as an individual‘s decision after they have pursued their preferences (Allendorf, 2013; Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996).  However, marriage traditions in India are gradually changing and                                                  1 Collectivism and individualism can be conceptualized at a broad societal level or an individual psychological level (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996).  Societal level collectivism or individualism are value orientations that characterize the majority of a given society‘s members (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996).  However, within each society there are individual differences among people in the extent that they identify or adhere to a particular orientation, this is referred to as individual or psychological collectivism or individualism (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996).  Collectivism and individualism referred to in this write-up refers to societal level conceptualizations of collectivism and individualism because that is what the studies cited refer to.  But it is important to note that there are individual variations within these societies.   2 choice marriages are a relatively recent development that have been under-researched, specifically in India (Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008).  Contributions to the research literature on changing marriage traditions in India and South Asian societies have largely arisen from anthropology (Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008) and sociology.  These disciplines have made valuable contributions to help understand how the social and political systems in India have influenced traditional marriage practices and shaped them into what they are today.  Increased input in partner selection (Banerji, 2008; Caldwell, Reddy, & Caldwell, 1983; Corwin, 1977; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008; Malhotra, 1991; Niraula, 1994; Peterson, Kim, McCarthy, Park, & Plamondon, 2011) and accommodation of love (De Munck, 1996) characterize a growing number of contemporary arranged marriages in India and other South Asian societies.  Increased education (Banerji, 2008), religion and socioeconomic status (Singh, 2010), authoritarianism (Peterson et al., 2011), foreign media exposure (Ghimire, Axinn, Yabiku, & Thornton, 2006), and other influences have been theorized and studied as factors potentially contributing to the increased frequency of choice marriages in India.   The Indian conception of ―love‖ is thought to differ from that of western societies. Researchers have proposed that such a difference in conception may influence marriage practices (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Epstein et al., 2013; Twamley, 2013).  In India, love has historically been thought to emerge after marriage, while in individualistic societies like Canada, love is often considered a necessary condition before marriage (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Epstein et al., 2013).  Therefore, given the Indian conception of love, arranged marriages make more ―sense‖ in India than they would in Western countries.  However, the meaning ascribed to love in collectivist societies like India is increasingly being influenced by individualistic notions of love   3 presented through Western-influenced novels (Puri, 1997) and movies (Bowman & Dollahite, 2013), especially for the current generation of emerging adults in India (Gala & Kapadia, 2014).   Statistical and research trends about spousal selection in India point to rapid increases in choice marriages among young/emerging adults with far reaching systemic and relational consequences (Allendorf, 2016; Axinn, Ghimire, & Barber, 2008; Banerji, 2008; Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Desai & Andrist, 2010; Dhar, 2013; Malhotra, 1991).  In other words, the breaking of tradition in choice marriages often results in internal consequences for the individual and strains within various systems and important relationships in their lives (Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Dhar, 2013).  This increase in choice marriages has seen a corresponding increase in Indian family counsellors being approached by choice marriage couples for assistance (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  However, choice marriage couples in India face many distinct challenges from individuals in arranged marriages (Sonpar, 2005); choice marriage couples in India tend to be marginalized and maligned by the broader society which continues to predominantly practice arranged marriage (Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  Some of the key research-identified challenges and consequences of choice marriages are increased violence from family, discrimination, and estrangement from families and communities (Allendorf, 2013; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008; Rocca et al., 2009; Twamley, 2013).  Thus, breaking from familial and community norms through having an ―individualistic‖ choice marriage can be particularly challenging in collectivistic cultures.  Gender is an important social construct that greatly influences individuals‘ marriage experiences in India.  Gendered components of Indian society, such as its rules around sexuality (Abraham, 2001, 2002; Caldwell, Caldwell, Caldwell, & Pieris, 1998; Chowdhry, 2004), a family system often headed by males (Allendorf, 2013, 2016), and a traditional gender division   4 of labour (Allendorf, 2016; Derné, 2003; Jeffrey, 2010; Netting, 2010; Pradhan & Ram, 2010) support patriarchal discourses which usually disadvantage women in marriage.  These predominant cultural norms influence marriage behaviours by limiting the degree to which females expect to and actually exercise choice in marriages (Allendorf, 2013, 2016; Caldwell et al., 1983; Schuler, Bates, Islam, & Islam, 2006).  As such, it is likely that choice marriage experiences will differ for each gender, with women usually being impacted more negatively. Consequently, more attention in research should be focused on this more marginalized group. While ample research in anthropology and sociology has provided insight into common marital practices and how they are changing in India, it is not without its limitations.  Specifically, socio-anthropological research maintains a community-wide emphasis on understanding the influences of broader social and relational forces in shaping the meaning of love and experience of choice marriages in India.  For example, utilizing an ethnographic methodology (which is commonly done in choice marriage research in India) focuses on shared experiences of groups of individuals and neglects to illuminate an individual‘s lived experience in a choice marriage (e.g., Allendorf, 2013).  In sum, despite the increase in choice marriages in collectivistic countries, research on the phenomenological experience of individuals engaging in choice marriages remains limited.  Dhar (2013) and Bedi and Rogers (2016) provide a preliminary exploration of the topic but each has significant methodological limitations.  For example, Dhar‘s (2013) study is based on intercaste choice marriages – marriages between individuals of different castes.  While studying intercaste marriage provides another layer of understanding about marriage in South Asian societies, marriages, even choice marriages, still tend to be almost entirely endogamous, or intracaste (i.e., marriages between individuals of the same caste) (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016;   5 Dhar, 2013; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008).  In addition, Bedi and Rogers (2016) study in intra-caste marriages was limited by its small sample size and research interviews with couples, together which are problematic because it does not reflect the range of individuals‘ experiences, especially neglecting the potential gendered experience of the phenomenon.  As such, the experience of Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages remains inadequately explored.   This study focused on India because of its increasing number of choice marriages, large population, and a strong persistence of arranged marriage traditions.  India is the second most populated country in the world with 1.3 billion inhabitants, accounting for 18% of the world‘s population (United Nations, 2015).  In India, although choice marriage rates are substantially lower than arranged marriage spousal selection, due to India‘s population, many still occur.  In addition, India is a particularly interesting context for study because it has violated theorists‘ predictions about marital change in the face of social change (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  For example, while other Asian countries such as China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong reported large shifts in their attitudes towards choice marriages that were more consistent with Western countries, South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan still have overwhelmingly resistant attitudes about the practice of choice marriage (Levine, Sato, Hashimoto, & Verma, 1995).  Further, this study focused on participants‘ experiences in and understanding of their relationships because of the prominent place relationships hold in Indian society, particularly in relation to marriage.  India‘s largely collectivistic orientation suggests that relationships with others are a central component of life (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Levine et al., 1995).  This is especially so for arranged marriages, with parents and natal kin being actively involved and having a high degree of influence in partner selection (Buunk et al., 2010; Dion & Dion, 1993,   6 1996).  Deviating from arranged marriage tradition and engaging in a choice marriage disrupts the function or role of family members defined by the underlying relational nature of collectivistic society.  As such, there are relational consequences to having a choice marriage among family and broader society (Allendorf, 2013; Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Dhar, 2013; Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  In addition, participants in choice marriages frequently cite relationships as an important component of their experience in a choice marriage (Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Dhar, 2013). 1.1 Problem Statement There is a notable absence of psychological research on the increasingly common practice of caste-endogamous choice marriages in India – a highly collectivistic society – especially research which illuminates the subjective experiences of the individuals in these marriages.  Therefore, counsellors providing services to choice marriage individuals or couples in India, or with individuals with an Indian background, lack adequate empirical resources to understand their clients‘ experiences and provide evidence-based practices to support them (Bedi & Rogers, 2016). 1.2 Purpose of the Proposed Study The purpose of this study was to describe how Indian women who deviate from the traditional Indian norm of arranged marriage and are in caste-endogamous choice marriages experience and understand their significant relationships.  The specific research question guiding the proposed study was: ―What is the meaning of close relationships for Indian females who are in caste-endogamous choice marriages?‖   7 1.3 Significance of the Study  This study contributes to the existing scholarly literature.  Understanding choice marriage in a context where arranged marriage is the norm provides a novel and alternative perspective for marriage research that may generate new knowledge and further clarify insights from previous research. This could result in the creation of a more holistic understanding of the consequences of marriage across various cultures and contexts.  This research study is also important because of the lack of psychological research about the experiences and phenomenological understandings of relationships among individuals in choice marriages in the Indian national context.  While these experiences may change over time, research is currently needed to provide marriage counsellors with a knowledge base and starting point for understanding Indian women‘s experiences in choice marriages.  In addition to the lack of research, marriage counsellors in India often do not have personal experiences to draw from to fully understand these individuals‘ experiences (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  While it is not necessary for counsellors to refer to research or their personal experiences to empathize and support individuals, empirical research or personal experiences are helpful resources for counsellors who may not know where to start in their counselling practise with these individuals.  For counselling to be most helpful for individuals in choice marriages, in India, it is crucial that counsellors be able to understand and empathize with their lived experience.  Furthermore, this research holds relevance for counsellors beyond India, to those working with choice marriage females of Indian descent or recently immigrated from India in Western countries.  This research is especially pertinent for societies such as Canada with a large Indian diaspora (Statistics Canada, 2011), and where there is structural support, in the form of the official national policy of multiculturalism, for the maintenance of ethnocultural attitudes, values, and tradition (Dion & Dion, 1996).  In Canada,   8 love, pre-marital dating relationships, spousal choice, and type of marriage are crucial and common points of cultural conflict for South Asian-Canadian families (Dugsin, 2001; Manohar, 2008; Netting, 2006; Zaidi, Couture-Carron, & Maticka-Tyndale, 2016).  While not every South Asian immigrant will experience the bi-cultural conflict around relationships and marriage, many in this population will to some degree (Netting, 2006).  Research conducted in India is also especially relevant because Indian immigrants tend to strongly hold on to values, traditions, and norms around marriage and family rather than acculturating to the host country (Wakil, Siddique, & Wakil, 1981).  In sum, understanding the experience and meaning of caste-endogamous choice marriages in India should increase multicultural competence for counsellors all around the world who are working with the Indian diaspora about the relational consequences of their choice marriage, and consequently clients‘ satisfaction with the counselling they receive (Constantine, 2002).     9 Chapter 2: Literature Review The following section provides a brief review of the scholarly literature on choice marriage in India and on topics related to it to contextualize the proposed research.  The geographic focus of this research study is India.  India is part of South Asia2, a region that holds nearly one quarter of the world‘s population (Allendorf & Thornton, 2015).  Although South Asian subcultures vary and can be differentiated by particular characteristics, they share similar cultural values and traditions, in particular, and in relation to this paper, marriage norms (Shariff, 2009).  Due to the paucity of research available on Indian experiences in choice marriage and the broad similarities among the countries that compose this region, the following review draws on literature from the broader South Asian region to provide a more thorough review of the gendered experience of marriage in this region.  2.1 Marriage in India Marriage is one of India‘s most important social institutions  (Sheela & Audinarayana, 2003) – it reflects and propagates the country‘s cultural values.  In India, arranged marriage customs for mate selection have been historically dominant (Allendorf, 2013; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Banerji, 2008; Desai & Andrist, 2010; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008; Netting, 2010).  However, recent social and economic changes have facilitated rapid alterations in marriage behaviors and cogently introduced an alternative option, choice marriage (Adams, 2010; Allendorf, 2013, 2016; Allendorf & Thornton, 2015; Banerji, 2008; Corwin, 1977; Ghimire et al., 2006; Inglehart & Baker, 2000; Malhotra, 1991).                                                    2 South Asia refers to countries of the Indian subcontinent and includes: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka (Majumdar, 2007; Shariff, 2009).  Each country in the South Asian region can be differentiated by geographical region, language, religion, wealth, education, and caste which contribute to its unique norms, practices, and traditions (Majumdar, 2007; Shariff, 2009).    10 2.1.1 India’s Culture: Collectivism To better understand the significance of choice marriages in India, it is important to first understand Indian culture.  Researchers often use the dimension of individualism versus collectivism as a framework to differentiate between cultures (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Hofstede, 1984; Hui & Triandis, 1986).  India is characterized as a primarily collectivistic culture alongside other Eastern cultures such as China and Japan.  Collectivism involves the ―subordination of individual goals to the goals of a collective, and a sense of harmony, interdependence, and concern for others‖ (Hui & Triandis, 1986, pp. 244–245).  The focus and priority of individuals is on the groups that they belong to, especially their family.  An individual‘s loyalty and reliance on the group, and reduced personal privacy is understood to safeguard individuals‘ interests (Hofstede, 1984).  Personal identity for individuals with greater psychological collectivism is tied closely to their role in the group (Hofstede, 1984).  For these individuals, personal well-being is rooted in an individual‘s relationship with the collective, particularly their family and kinship network (Hofstede, 1984; Hui & Triandis, 1986).  In sum, the focus and priorities of a collectivistic society is distinct from those of individualistic societies, which will be detailed later in this chapter.  2.1.2 Traditional Arranged Marriage as an Enactment of Collectivism Collectivist cultural values influence particular mate selection strategies and the meaning or purpose of marriage (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996).  The focus on and prioritization of the group in collective cultures is evident in arranged marriages where the family takes precedence over the couple.  In purely collectivist cultures, marriage functions as an alliance to promote the well-being of the families of the individuals involved in the union (Buunk et al., 2010; Dhar, 2013; Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Epstein et al., 2013; Sheela & Audinarayana, 2003).  It also functions   11 as a method for reproduction and preservation of the family line, and arranged marriage traditions reflect honour and are important for family stability (Netting, 2010).  In these cultures, parental or familial influence in mate selection is common with arranged marriages being the expected form of mate selection (Buunk et al., 2010; Epstein et al., 2013).   Arranged marriages are a system of mate selection where families, parents in particular, choose their children‘s spouses.  Parents and family members typically consider caste, religion, social and economic standing of a prospective spouse, as well as an individual‘s moral character when choosing a spouse (Allendorf, 2016; Dhar, 2013; Raval et al., 2010).  In line with this, individuals from collectivistic countries typically perceive stronger parental influence on mate choice than individuals from individualistic cultures (Buunk et al., 2010).   The notion of romantic love and physical or emotional attraction between couples is generally not an important factor for marriage in collectivistic societies and may even be considered negative or disruptive by undermining the collectivistic orientation in favor of the individual or couple (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Epstein et al., 2013; Gupta, 1976).  Levine, Sato, Hashimoto, and Verma (1995) asked undergraduates in India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia, England, and the United States to respond to questions about the importance of love in the establishment and maintenance of marital relationships.  In their study, participants were asked, ―If a man (woman) had all the other qualities you desired, would you marry this person if you were not in love with him (her)?‖ (Levine et al., 1995, p. 559).  Young adults from collectivistic countries, like India, Pakistan, and Thailand, were more likely to answer affirmatively.  Close to half the respondents from India (49%) and Pakistan (50.4%) answered ―yes‖ to this question while the country with the next highest affirmative response to this question was from Thailand at a significantly lower   12 frequency, 18.8%.  For arranged marriages, while love may not be present at the time of the marriage, love is thought to emerge over time after marriage (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Epstein et al., 2013).  Individuals in arranged marriages have described the love they develop as different from and stronger than the romantic love depicted in popular Western media (Epstein et al., 2013).  For example, Epstein et al.'s (2013) participants in arranged marriages saw love as an intentional act – they believed that they could consciously develop feelings for their spouse.  As a result, these individuals did not engage in relationship activities that were focused on personal desires or development of the couple, such as pre-marital dating or sexual intimacies, in order to find or secure a marriage partner.  Further, in India, even after an arrangement has been set between the couple, there usually continues to be limited contact between the couple prior to marriage (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Netting, 2010).  In sum, arranged marriage practices are consistent with and serve to maintain India‘s collectivistic value orientation.  2.1.3 Choice Marriage as an Enactment of Individualism Conversely, choice marriages are considered to reflect individualism and individualistic values (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996).  Individualism is defined as ―the subordination of the goals of the collectivities to individual goals, and a sense of independence and lack of concern for others‖ (Hui & Triandis, 1986, p. 245).  Western culture, in countries such as Canada, United States, and Great Britain, typically exemplify such an emphasis on the individual.  The central characteristic of relationships in individualistic cultures is the importance of romantic love; and romantic love is considered to be the basis for marriage – a precondition (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Epstein et al., 2013).  Characteristics of romantic love parallel the definition of individualism with a focus on pursuing personal fulfillment and following one‘s personal wishes even if they oppose the collective (e.g., family).  There is a strong positive correlation between the importance of love as   13 a basis for marriage and societal individualism (Levine et al., 1995).  As such, in choice marriages, parents are typically not involved in the development of dating and marital relationships, and individuals are expected to choose their own spouses based on attraction and intimacy.   In Western cultures, dating and sexual intimacy are considered components of an individual‘s development (e.g., Eric Erickson‘s stages of psychosocial development or Levinson‘s seasons of life), so that they can make their own decisions around partner selection (as cited in Anderson, Goodman, & Schlossberg, 2012).  Marriage supposedly functions to promote self-development/personal growth in both partners (i.e., ―growing together‖).  The psychological intimacy associated with romantic love in choice marriage is associated with marital satisfaction and personal well-being in Western countries (e.g., Acevedo & Aron, 2009).  When comparing India‘s collectivistic values and arranged marriages to the values set forth in choice marriages in individualistic societies, choice marriages disrupt the traditional societal arrangement of marriage in India.  The purpose and meanings associated with arranged marriages are different and at times oppositional to the purpose and meanings associated with choice marriages; this suggests that the experience of choice marriage within a society that is dominated by arranged marriage tradition will be different and challenging.  2.1.4 Marital Change Sociological and anthropological researchers have documented how family behaviours, such as spouse selection and marriage, have changed across time in specific societies and theorized about how social changes have shifted patterns of family behaviours.  Modernization theory was a prominent theory used to explain changes in marital behaviour from arranged marriages to choice marriages.  In modernization theory, economics and changes towards   14 industrialization and urbanization are pointed to as factors causing increases in choice marriages (Adams, 2010; Corwin, 1977; Inglehart & Baker, 2000).  For example, Corwin (1977) explained the acceptance of intercaste marriages in her 16 participant sample in West Bengal as the result of youth being employed in ―professional‖ work (i.e., non-agricultural jobs), becoming economically independent and thus having power and being in a position to choose their own spouse or to influence parental spousal choice.  However, many of the predictions of family and marital change proposed by modernization theory have been discredited in the specific case of India (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  Despite India‘s rapid and extensive industrialization and globalization, the vast majority of marriages continue to be parentally arranged (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008; Netting, 2010).   Modernization theory remains influential and parts of it have been incorporated into a popular theory of family change called developmental idealism (Allendorf, 2013, 2016; Allendorf & Ghimire, 2013; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Allendorf & Thornton, 2015).  Developmental idealism posits that beliefs and ideas of modernization theory form particular schemas that individuals hold and are an important source of shifting family behaviour from traditional to modern.  The core principles underlying developmental idealism are: (a) modern society is good and attainable; (b) modern family is good and attainable; (c) modern family is both the cause and effect of modern society; (d) individuals have the right to be free and equal with relationships characterized by consent; and (e) societies are dynamic and moving from traditional to modern (Allendorf, 2013, 2016).  In this theory, family behaviors in northwest Europe from the 1700s to early 1900s initially characterized the ―modern family, (i.e., nuclear family structure) and in modern times, countries with European roots, like Canada, represent the ―modern family‖, with families outside of that geographic and cultural location that have   15 dissimilar family structures (e.g., extended family living within the household) and behaviours being characterized as ―traditional families.‖   Several researchers have investigated the theory of developmental idealism in ethnographic studies in India and other South Asian countries (Allendorf, 2013, 2016; Allendorf & Ghimire, 2013; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Allendorf & Thornton, 2015).  India and South Asian countries are important countries to investigate because many cultural customs are seemingly incompatible with some tenets of developmental idealism (Allendorf, 2013).  For example, of particular relevance to the proposed research, arranged marriage violates the modern family value of consent and the Indian custom of caste endogamy violates the belief that all individuals are equal (Allendorf, 2013).  Therefore, the current usefulness of this theoretical conceptualization is questionable in India.  Nevertheless, there is evidence to suggest that there are recent changes in marital behaviour in certain parts of India in a manner consistent with the model of developmental idealism.  For example, in the Indian village of Pariwarbasti, Allendorf (2013) found that a sample of villagers‘ marital schemas were somewhat congruent with the beliefs espoused in developmental idealism.  These participants categorized marriage into arranged marriages and love marriages or elopements and evaluated these types of marriages using terms consistent with developmental idealism such as ―traditional‖ or ―modern,‖ respectively.  Many participants further responded that marriages based on love allows for choice which they believe contributes to a strong relationship and spoke of the positive nature of intercaste and interreligious marriage, suggesting the value of individualism, freedom, consent, and equality.  Finally, a large number of participants alluded that contemporary marital change or transition, from arranged marriage to love marriage, is the effect of modern society (e.g., socioeconomic changes, increased education,   16 technology, and foreign influence).  As expected, the young Pariwarbastian adults who endorsed developmental idealism schemas were more likely to choose their own spouse than to have an arranged marriage (Allendorf & Thornton, 2015).  The greater acceptance of intercaste and interreligious marriages in the small town of Pariwarbasti and positive evaluations of love marriages reflect developmental idealism. Factors associated with increases in choice marriage have also been investigated atheoretically.  While an in-depth exploration of all the variables associated with those who choose choice marriages in collectivistic societies goes beyond the scope of this section, an overview of the associated factors can provide an indication of the potential characteristics associated with individuals who engage in choice marriages, the sample of the proposed research.  The following social/structural factors have been identified as factors increasing participation in spousal self-selection in South Asia: higher educational attainment, living outside of family home before marriage, increased media exposure, participation in youth clubs, migration, utilizing new technology, employment, and participation in nonfamily institutions (Allendorf, 2013; Allendorf & Thornton, 2015; Banerji, 2008; Ghimire et al., 2006; Malhotra, 1991).  Individual characteristics thought to influence choice in spousal selection are: (a) cohort, (b) gender, and (c) caste or religion.  Individuals who are part of the younger cohort, male, part of lower castes, and Christian are more likely to engage in choice marriages (Allendorf, 2013; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Banerji, 2008; Desai & Andrist, 2010; Ghimire et al., 2006; Malhotra, 1991).  While the research on changing marital behaviours in India paints a complex picture of sociocultural and individual influences, they all point to the fact that marriage in India is changing compared to what it was before.    17 2.1.5 Contemporary Marriage Practices in India There are significant shifts in Indian marriages in response to the factors identified above (Chawla, 2006, 2007; Jauregui & McGuinness, 2003; Netting, 2010).  For example, Netting‘s (2010) sample of 30 unmarried young adults from India described that in contemporary arranged marriages, young adults are more involved early on, remain involved throughout the mate selection process, and have increased input in spousal selection.  In fact, some individuals in contemporary arranged marriage have the opportunity to meet several potential spouses before their parents make the decision (Netting, 2010).  Once an arrangement has been agreed upon, the couple is sometimes allowed to engage in nonsexual premarital dating behaviours until marriage (Netting, 2010).  According to some, increased contact between potential spouses before marriage suggests increasing consideration of interpersonal compatibility, and potentially love, in contemporary arranged marriages (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  Therefore, a contemporary model of spousal selection in India is emerging as a hybrid of traditional arranged marriages and Western love marriages.  Contemporary arranged marriages retain their parental sanctioning of arranged marriages while incorporating some autonomy more characteristic of choice marriage.  The collectivistic values that have been retained, particularly the continued control of parents and/or family in mediating or limiting the young adult‘s choice, demonstrate the persistence of certain values underlying arranged marriage and how embedded they are in Indian culture.   Traditional arranged marriages, contemporary arranged marriages, and choice marriages are current models of spousal selection that represent markers on a continuum with each representing varying degrees of input from the individual in comparison to their parents and/or family (Malhotra, 1991).  The choice in contemporary arranged marriages may be confused for choice marriages themselves; however, these are distinct forms of spousal selection.    18 Contemporary arranged marriages are different than traditional arranged marriages by being characterized by greater choice and autonomy.  However, individuals‘ kin in contemporary arranged marriages continue to mediate how much choice young adults have in marital selection, and parental and/or family influence remains strong.  Half of Netting‘s (2010) sample had a preference for choice marriage but would not plan to wed if their parents disagreed, so parental influence remains a very important factor in mate selection in contemporary India.  Continuing increases in choice marriage despite increased choice in contemporary arranged marriage hints that there is something characteristically different about choice marriage.  Choice marriages are distinct due to their characteristic of breaking from the collectivist orientation (individuals/couple prioritized rather than the group), particularly from the influence of the parents and/or family network/structure that is foundational to Indian culture.  It is this break that violates Indian social structure, often times resulting in largely adverse consequences from family and larger Indian society.   Marital practices in India parallel the trends among its South Asian neighbours.  Using women‘s responses on the Indian Human Development Survey (IHDS) collected in 2004-2005 and 2011-2012, Allendorf and Pandian (2016) found a significant decline in arranged marriages with parents autonomously making spouse selection decisions from 50% in the 1970s to 33% in the 2000s.  Ethnographic studies from a variety of regions across India have also described the increased frequency of choice marriages in Delhi (Grover, 2009),West Bengal (Allendorf, 2013; Corwin, 1977; Donner, 2016), Ladakh (Aengst, 2014), Gujarat (Netting, 2010), Andhra Pradesh (Still, 2011), and Tamil Nadu (De Neve, 2016).   Women‘s choice and autonomy in spousal selection in India has increased over time with joint spousal selection becoming the current dominant pattern in India where younger cohorts of   19 women are more likely than older cohorts to be consulted by their parents in the decision of who to marry (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Banerji, 2008).  In the 1970s, 47% of women had input in choosing their spouses jointly with their parents (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Desai & Andrist, 2010).  This has increased to about 65% in the 2000s (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Desai & Andrist, 2010; also see Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008).  However, Lall (2006) estimates that 95% of Indian marriages in the beginning of the 21st century continue to be parentally arranged, to some extent.   The prevalence of choice marriage among females doubled within the population but continues to remain rare, increasing from 3% in the 1970s to 5-6% in the 2000s (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Desai & Andrist, 2010).  Interviews among residents of an Indian village in West Bengal indicate that respondents perceived choice marriages and elopements as increasing over time and eventually replacing arranged marriage as the dominant model for marriage (Allendorf, 2013).  While up-to-date statistics for the types of marriage the Indian population is engaged in are difficult to obtain and track over time, the statistical trends and research studies reviewed above suggest a slow but steady increase in the prevalence of choice marriages in India.  Systemic concerns (see 2.2 Gender), and violence and fear of violence against females in choice marriages may impact the low prevalence rates of self-reported choice marriages among females.  Further, some of the statistics mentioned above likely underestimate the prevalence of choice marriages in the overall population by only sampling females because Indian males exercise more choice in spousal selection than their female counterparts (Allendorf, 2013).  The impact of individualistic and collectivist influences on individuals‘ conception of love was perhaps best demonstrated by Twamley‘s (2013) study.  Twamley (2013) conducted a two-site ethnographic comparative study to explore the understandings of love and intimacy, and   20 how they interact with and shape participants' sexuality and sexual practice among young heterosexual middle-class Gujarati Indians in the United Kingdom (UK) and India.  For both Indian and UK participants, love was considered an important part of developing relationships and emphasized when choosing a spouse.  However, love was characterized distinctly by each group.  Young Indian adults utilized intimacy or intimate behavior to distinguish between two kinds of love, a physical love and true love, and thus the seriousness of the relationship.  They characterized physical love as sexual in nature and it was considered an inferior type love.  Love at first sight was equated with physical love and participants were suspicious of these relationships, and thought it to be an inappropriate basis for a relationship, and these relationships were not expected to last, because it indicated attraction rather than a careful consideration of important factors such as family or status (considerations of the collective).  For them rather, the seriousness of the love and an individual‘s intentions are demonstrated through sexual restraint – true love.  True love was preferred by Indian participants and characterized as pure.  The suppression of physical attraction is similar to the control exercised in arranged marriages (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Epstein et al., 2013; Gupta, 1976).  As such, true love represents an acceptable form of love that can exist side-by-side within the social norms of a society that has continued to dominantly practise arranged marriages (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008).  In sum, Indian participants used traditional arranged marriage discourses concerning appropriate relationship practices, such as the suppression of intimacy, to legitimize their premarital love relationships and practice their increased desire for choice in spousal selection.  Conversely, young adult Indian participants in the UK considered intimacy and sexual relationships a norm in pre-marital relationships and necessary in loving and ―healthy‖   21 relationships.  Sexual intimacy served to indicate or ―prove‖ their love and an early transition to sexual relationships were seen as desirable and inevitable.  For them, love was characterized by both physical and emotional attraction.  Sexless relationships, such as true love relationships in India, were described as childish or not romantic relationships at all.  Consistent with their emphasis on individual (sexual) desires in their construction of ―love‖, UK participants also maintained a strong preference for choice marriages, characteristic of individualistic societies.   While popular opinion about the importance of love in marriages in India has changed more slowly than that in other traditionally collectivistic countries, it is becoming more prevalent (Levine et al., 1995; Twamley, 2013).  Young adults in India appear to construct love uniquely even in comparison to Indians in the diaspora.  When individuals in India make choice marriages, a union based on love, it may still be characteristically different as a result of the differing notions of love in Western societies.  As such, it is important to study choice marriages in India within the specific context and not generalize research on choice marriages in largely Eurocentric contexts to individuals in India. Sonpar (2005) highlights that while the challenges in Indian marriages may be somewhat similar among individuals in arranged marriages and choice marriages, choice marriages ―may face additional stresses‖ (p. 304). Choice marriage, in its rarity, and deviance from tradition, has been primarily associated with largely negative consequences.  A majority of the literature has focused on adverse consequences of choice marriages within the family.  As an exception, in a rural village in West Bengal, elopements and choice marriages were generally accepted without major negative consequences (Allendorf, 2013).  Yet this placid experience seems to be a rare occurrence, with the literature reporting many more negative consequences for individuals engaged in choice marriages.  What seems to be more common is that couples, particularly   22 females, often run away from home to get married due to fear of parental rejection of the union (Allendorf, 2013; Raval et al., 2010).  Marriages that are not approved by the parents can result in couples being distanced from or disowned by their natal parents and/or family (Allendorf, 2013; Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).   For participants in Dhar‘s (2013) study, in-laws refused to accept the couple and the couple had to make separate living arrangements.  Adolescent women who ran away from home to marry a partner of their choice reported experiencing psychological manipulation to threats of suicide or homicide (towards herself or her partner) from family members to dissuade them from their marriage (Raval et al., 2010).  Women in particular are at risk for being targets of familial violence, from kin or in-laws, as a result of engaging in a choice marriage (Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  A concern identified by villagers in Pariwarbasti about choice marriages was the breaking of the kinship structure through choice marriages‘ focus on the individual rather than the family (Allendorf, 2013).  Village participants identified that a choice marriage may damage couples‘ relationship with in-laws and natal parents, and choice marriage couples may not expect parental support during challenging moments in the choice marriage relationship (Allendorf, 2013).  Overall, choice marriages strongly impact relationships with family members.  Individuals are also likely to experience other negative consequences from their marital partner.  In their study on the risks and protective factors of spousal violence in India among young married women in the slums of Bangalore, Rocca and colleagues (2009) found that women in choice marriages were almost twice as more likely than their arranged marriage counterparts to report recent domestic violence.  The researchers cite complex relationships   23 between social support, economic resources from wives‘ birth families, marital conflict, harassment by in-laws, and domestic violence.   The adverse consequences of choice marriages also extends beyond the family network, with negative community member behaviours ranging from shaming the couple to threatening them (Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  The reactions from society are overwhelmingly negative, leading to deteriorating relationships and at times severing relationships between couples and their family members (Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  The negative effects of the label of having a choice marriage often extended to their families and their children, diminishing good marriage prospects among related kin (Caldwell et al., 1998).  Some caste-endogamous couples experienced challenges being accepted by individuals who did not practice choice marriage which sometimes developed into full-scale conflict (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  Although attitudes towards choice marriage are slowly becoming more liberal, there are still grave consequences for many who choose to enter into a choice marriage in India.  It seems that many of these consequences occur among individuals‘ relationships to others.  As noted above, there have been steady increases in choice marriage in contemporary India.  Despite changes, choice marriages are still infrequent in India but more importantly, are associated with strong adverse consequences for individuals engaged in them.  As such, it is important for researchers to focus their attention on this small, marginalized, but increasing group.  In the next sections, we turn our attention to two important structures of inequality within Indian society which are maintained by and help maintain the arranged marriage tradition.   2.2 Gender An important characteristic of Indian society relevant to understanding marriage is gender.  Women and men tend to play distinct roles in Indian society and India‘s patriarchal   24 culture disadvantages women generally and in marriage.  This section provides an overview of aspects of South Asian culture that are repeatedly identified in the literature in reference to gender in marriage (Allendorf, 2016; Shariff, 2009; Zaidi et al., 2016).  While there are changes occurring, in the frequency of and growing acceptance of choice marriages in India, they occur against the backdrop of these gender norms which are still prominent aspects of South Asian culture (Abraham, 2001). 2.2.1 Gender, India, and Marriage  First, there is a gendered component concerning pre-marital sexual experiences that influences marriage (Abraham, 2001, 2002; Caldwell et al., 1998; Chowdhry, 2004).  In India, women‘s virginity is highly valued and they are usually expected to remain virgins until marriage (Abraham, 2001, 2002; Allendorf, 2016).  In support, Abraham‘s (2002) study on heterosexual youth practices, 26% of adolescent boys had engaged in sexual intercourse while only 3% of adolescent girls reported the same.  For many women, the only legitimate way to express their sexuality was limited to the institution of marriage (Abraham, 2001; Netting, 2010).  Because Indian women are typically considered symbols of family honour (Yuval-Davis, 1997), a woman deviating from norms around sexuality threatens her family‘s honor and social standing (Abraham, 2002; Chowdhry, 2004).  This may mean that she may not be able to secure a ―good‖ marriage and her actions will be conferred to her sisters who may also not be able to get married to ―good‖ partners (Caldwell et al., 1998).  The extended family may also experience social criticism through taunts and shaming (Chowdhry, 2004).  These consequences are numerous and much more significant in comparison to the often few negative consequences for Indian men who engage in premarital sex (Abraham, 2002).     25  Next, Indian family systems are both patrilineal and patrilocal (Allendorf, 2016).  Patrilineal refers to descent being passed on through the male line and patrilocal refers to settling into or being incorporated into the husband‘s home (Allendorf, 2016).  This means that when women marry, they are usually leaving their families and take on the religion, caste, social, and economic position of their husbands and his family (Allendorf, 2013; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  This patrilocal family structure where women‘s characteristics are erased implies that husbands‘ qualities are more valued (Allendorf, 2016).  This is demonstrated by gender differences of desired spousal characteristics found in India (Allendorf, 2016; Netting, 2010).  Allendorf (2016) found that both men and women indicated the importance of higher education and holding a high paying job in consideration of a potential spouse, but this preference was significantly more prevalent among women (75%) than men (40%).  Men in Allendorf‘s (2016) sample were also significantly more likely than women to indicate marrying for love (men = 23%, women = 11%) or beauty (men = 34%, women = 14%).  Parents corroborated these trends, indicating that men should be educated and have a good job while women should be beautiful and be able to adapt to the man‘s family (Allendorf, 2016; Netting, 2010).  The emphasis and valuing of men‘s traits demonstrates how Indian women are often considered ―in relation to‖ rather than as subjects themselves (Majumdar, 2007).   The different preferences for spousal characteristics among Indian men and women also highlight the traditional gender division of labour in India (Allendorf, 2016; Netting, 2010).  Men are expected to be the breadwinners and are responsible for financially supporting the family (Derné, 2003; Jeffrey, 2010).  Women are supposed to take the role of wives and/or mothers and are responsible for the family and home (Netting, 2010).  Both young men and women in India perceive employment and earning a stable income to maintain a family as   26 significant markers of a ―real men‖, while important characteristics of ―real women‖ consist of bearing children and domestic responsibilities (Pradhan & Ram, 2010).   These patriarchal discourses support practices that reflect women‘s subordination around marriage.  They influence practices such as child marriage (Schuler et al., 2006), dowry practices (Rastogi & Therly, 2006; Rocca et al., 2009), widow re-marriage (Caldwell et al., 1998), and the tradition of patriarchal arranged marriage (Abraham, 2001).  These practices and patriarchal discourse work reciprocally to influence and continue to propagate gender inequalities.  As such, it is important to consider a gendered lens to choice marriage because there are distinct differences in how Indian men and women are typically treated in relation to marriage and its related practices.   2.2.2 Gender and Choice Marriage There is a widespread notion that traditional Indian arranged marriage systems are inherently oppressive and that one needs to deviate from such practices towards modern marriages to achieve increased gender equality (Allendorf, 2013; Majumdar, 2007).  This notion fails to recognize and acknowledge the oppression that many feminists have identified in Western traditions of marriage (Majumdar, 2007); as such, sweeping notions of choice marriages in India as modern and thus ―better‖ without examining experiences in choice marriages fails to reflect the diversity of individuals‘ experiences in choice marriages and neglects recognition of gender differences in the experience.  In the limited research available on choice marriages, there are already gender distinctions that have arisen.  This section will provide an overview of the emerging research in gendered experience of choice marriage.  While overall choice in spousal selection is steadily increasing in India, there continues to be an important gender divide in spousal choice.  Men expect to and do exercise greater choice in   27 marriage than women (Allendorf, 2013, 2016; Caldwell et al., 1983; Schuler et al., 2006).  From survey data in Chitwan Valley, Allendorf (2016) found that 38% of men expected to choose their own spouse in comparison to 18% of women.  Paralleling expectation of spousal selection, a clear majority of men (63%) in their sample chose their own spouse when they got married.  On the other hand women‘s spousal choice was more evenly distributed than expected between: a) choice marriage; b) contemporary arranged marriage; or c) traditional arranged marriage.  In addition, in rural Bangladeshi villages, young boys and men were found to have some input in the selection of their spouses in arranged marriages but girls and women had no say in the timing of marriage or spousal selection (Schuler et al., 2006).   This review of the gender and its influence in the social institution of marriage in South Asian societies and India suggests that there will likely be important gender differences in the experience of choice marriage in India.  Research has already shown there to be gender differences in choice marriages in South Asian society around prevalence of spousal choice.  As such, it is likely that there will be a gender influence on the experience of choice marriage.  2.3 Caste The caste system is another component of Indian society that maintains and is maintained through marriage practices.  The Hindu caste system is composed of four social groups, the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, and Shudras, with a clearly established hierarchy, with the Brahmins at the top and Shudras on the bottom (Dhar, 2013).  Arranged marriages usually unite individuals of the same caste in intracaste or endogamous marriages, ―ensuring the reproduction of demarcated caste groups‖ (Allendorf & Thornton, 2015, p. 246).  In contrast, intercaste or exogamous marriages are marriages which occur between individuals of different castes.     28 While intercaste marriages are slightly increasing, they remain relatively rare, with 4% of a national sample of Indian women in the 1970s engaging in intercaste marriages and a slight increase to 6% in the 2000s (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  Choice marriages are associated with greater intercaste marriages than arranged marriages:  17% of an Indian national sample of females who chose their own spouse picked a husband of a different caste while only 5% of marriages where both parents and daughters chose, and only 4% of spouses solely selected by parents were intercaste (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  The rare practise of intercaste marriage makes sense based on the conflicting opinions Indians hold about intercaste marriages.  Among her respondents in Pariwarbasti, Allendorf (2013) noted that villagers‘ perceptions of intercaste marriage could be characterized in one of the three ways: a) positive, emphasizing how it promoted equality; b) neutral, emphasizing tolerance and acceptance when it occurred; or c) negative, emphasizing intercaste marriages as an assault on tradition and culture.   While intercaste marriages are most likely choice marriages in India, not all choice marriages are intercaste marriages.  In fact, most are not.  About 80% of choice marriages among females continue to be intracaste, following the tradition of caste endogamy (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  Although intercaste marriages are increasingly more common in contemporary India, they still remain relatively rare in comparison to traditional endogamous marriages.  Therefore, research attention to endogamous choice marriage is a more pressing need.  2.4 Limitations of Previous Research Through the sections highlighted above, it becomes evident that there already has been a lot of research around marriages in India.  As identified in the literature review, research on choice marriages has focused on social changes influencing the change from traditional arranged marriages to increased choice in contemporary arranged marriages and choice marriages, the   29 state of (and attitudes towards) choice marriages in contemporary India, and the different meanings of love in individualist and collectivist societies.  The reciprocal influence of gender and caste or religion on marriage traditions has also been considered.  However, these studies are limited in helping us understand the individual experience of choice marriage because of the methods utilized and research questions asked.   The bulk of choice marriage research in India and South Asia has been conducted from the disciplines of anthropology and sociology, and relied largely on ethnographic methods for their research.  The primary aim in an ethnography is to describe or interpret ―the [meaning of] shared and learned patterns of values, behaviors, beliefs, and language of a culture-sharing group‖ (Creswell, 2012, p. 90).  Ethnographies are used to studying culture-sharing groups, such as residents of a specific geographic location, and a particular phenomenon.  The lines between ethnography and phenomenology can become blurred when considering the purpose of phenomenology, to describe or interpret the ―common meaning for several individuals of their lived experiences of a concept or a phenomenon‖ (Creswell, 2012, p. 76). While both approaches are focused on studying a particular phenomenon, the main difference is that the purpose of ethnographic research focuses on the macro and group level (Allendorf & Thornton, 2015; Creswell, 2012).  Additionally, ethnographies utilize theory when designing the research, presenting a theory-biased approach to describing and reporting on a particular phenomenon.  Phenomenology on the other hand is characterized by an orientation towards the individual and their lived experience of the phenomenon being investigated.  The specific phenomenological approach that the proposed research will use will be elaborated upon later.   Further, the focus of previous research has tended to emphasize the ―before‖ time frame of choice marriages, and not so much the ―during‖ or ―after‖.  For example, in reviewing the   30 structure of the literature review of this paper, social changes or factors associated with changes in marital behaviour, meaning associated with love, and overview of the structures of gender and caste can be identified as research dealing with the ―before‖ part of choice marriage.  These aspects tend to be in place and influence individuals toward a particular type of marriage.  Research on what occurs to individuals after choice marriages is less available but focuses on marital satisfaction and the behaviours of others (from family or society) for engaging in choice marriages.  These studies begin to help provide a better understanding of the experiences of individuals engaged in choice marriages.  However the impact of these consequences and the understanding individuals draw from their experiences in arranged marriage is still not well understood.   One of the other limitations of past choice marriage research is a focus on intercaste marriages or the neglect of differentiating between intercaste and intracaste marriages.  As Bedi and Rogers (2016) note, research on choice marriage is complicated by considering couples who engaged in choice marriages across social caste lines.  While there are some similarities between marriage experiences between individuals engaged in inter- and intra- caste marriages – also referred to as exogamous or endogamous marriages, respectively – the experience of caste-endogamous marriage is likely distinguished by several nuanced differences (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  These include, for example disappointment from families, lack of supports, and challenges with internal feelings such as guilt (Sonpar, 2005).  Studying exogamous marital behaviours to the neglect of endogamous marital behaviours misses a large proportion of the population who choose to engage in choice marriages.  However, some research has been done on the phenomenological experience of caste-endogamous choice marriages in Indian society through interviewing both members of a   31 heterosexual couple, usually together (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  While the joint method of data collection demonstrates how the couple jointly constructs their experience, the unique gendered experience of individuals in the choice marriage partnership is neglected.  Bedi and Rogers (2016) report experiences of the ―couple‖ and fail to investigate gendered differences of the experience.  Joint interviews may have inhibited individual members of the couple from sharing their experiences which may have contradicted their spouse.  The shared space in a joint interview may have prevented a member of the couple, particularly women in Indian patriarchal society, from taking up space during the interview to share about unique aspects of their experience and instead following their spouse‘s lead or prioritizing their spouse‘s experience (Majumdar, 2007).  Instead, research focusing on the experience of men and women, independently, allows individuals to articulate their gendered realities  in their choice marriage experiences in India (Majumdar, 2007). 2.5 Current Study The purpose of the current study was to explore the phenomenological experience of relationships of females in caste-endogamous choice marriages in India.  The proposed study seeks to extend the research and address the limitations of previous studies on choice marriages in India.  In particular, and most notably, the proposed study extends Bedi and Rogers‘s (2016) research by conducting a larger sample research study, interviewing women separately from their spouses, and focusing on the experience and understanding of close relationships in particular.  This study used Bronfenbrenner‘s Process-Person-Context-Time (PPCT) (Fig. 2.1) theory as a framework to structure the research interview for the study.  PPCT theory states that interactions between the person, proximal processes, contexts, and time influences human development (Bronfenbrenner & Ceci, 1994; Bronfenbrenner & Evans, 2000; Bronfenbrenner &   32 Morris, 2006; Tudge, Mokrova, Hatfield, & Karnik, 2009).  Although this study is not directly studying human development, marriage is a life task that individuals often engage in during human development  (Anderson et al., 2012) and using Bronfenbrenner‘s theory provides a structure which allows us to better conceptualize and investigate this study‘s research question.   The major selected concepts of the PPCT model that were used to construct the interview schedule are proximal process, the microsystem, and meso-time.  Proximal processes are consistent and enduring interactions between the individual and their external environment; these interactions are influenced by the characteristics of the person, context, and time (Bronfenbrenner & Ceci, 1994; Bronfenbrenner & Evans, 2000; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006; Tudge et al., 2009).  The microsystem is a component of the context, and refers to the individual‘s immediate environment, where they spend a lot of their time interacting with others face-to-face and engaging in activities, such as their family and school (Bronfenbrenner, 1994; Bronfenbrenner & Ceci, 1994; Bronfenbrenner & Evans, 2000; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006).  Meso-time refers to consistent interactions across an extended period of time (e.g., years) (Bronfenbrenner & Ceci, 1994; Bronfenbrenner & Evans, 2000; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006; Tudge et al., 2009).  For example, consistent interactions over time (meso-time) in an individual‘s microsystem are the most influential on individual development  (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006).  As such, this study investigated the experiences in, and understanding of, relationships by focusing on the consistent interactions (proximal processes and meso-time) women in endogamous choice marriages in India have with individuals in their microsystem.  As demonstrated above, Bronfenbrenner‘s PPCT model provided a framework to structure the interview schedule to investigate this study‘s research question.  Further, and more importantly, Bronfenbrenner‘s theory emphasizes the interrelatedness of the individual and their   33 context  (Bronfenbrenner & Ceci, 1994; Bronfenbrenner & Evans, 2000; Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 2006; Tudge et al., 2009) paralleling India‘s collective orientation and seeing the individual ―in relation‖ to other people or the larger group (Hofstede, 1984; Hui & Triandis, 1986).  This theory respects the context in which the research took place and allows us to aptly investigate the study‘s research question.  Bronfenbrenner‘s theory was ―bracketed‖ when analyzing the data to ensure that the research was ground in participants‘ data, avoiding the top-down analysis of data that limited previous research (Langdridge, 2007).   This study aimed to provide a detailed description of a sample of women in India‘s experience in and understanding of relationships after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  One research question guided the proposed study, ―What is the meaning of close relationships for Indian females who are in caste-endogamous choice marriages?‖  The data derived from semi-structured interviews were analyzed inductively to describe the key features about relationships in choice marriages for women as understood by individuals engaged in the experience and explore the meaning individuals ascribe to them.  The next chapter will detail the methodological approach this study used to answer the research question.    34  Figure 2.1 Bronfenbrenner’s Process-Person-Context-Time (PPCT) model. Adapted from ―Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory of Development‖ by Hchokr, 2012 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bronfenbrenner%2 7s_Ecological_Theory_of_Development_(English).jpg). Used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en. Adapted to reflect the inclusion of the chronosystem in Bronfenbrenner‘s Process-Person-Context-Time (PPCT) model.    35 Chapter 3: Method A qualitative approach was used to answer the research question, ―What is the meaning of close relationships for Indian females who are in caste-endogamous choice marriages?‖  A qualitative inquiry was undertaken due to the exploratory nature of this research.  Consistent with qualitative methodology, this study‘s research question is framed broadly and openly to allow the researcher to flexibly and comprehensively explore the particular phenomenon of concern without a predetermined hypothesis (Creswell, 2012; Smith & Osborn, 2008).  Qualitative research allows for an in-depth exploration of a particular phenomena to provide a naturalistic description and an understanding of the meanings individuals or groups ascribe to it (Creswell, 2014; Haverkamp, 2005; Langdridge, 2007; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009).  Further justifying a qualitative approach, there are a lack of appropriate psychological theories and measures regarding choice marriage in Indian or South Asian societies, making it difficult to guide a confirmatory quantitative methodology (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  The existing measures and theories of choice marriage have largely been developed in a Western context and would be inappropriate to apply to this culturally distinct population (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  Results from this study can provide an important starting point to investigate this little-understood phenomenon (i.e., the components of experience and meaning made by Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages about their close relationships).  3.1 Philosophical Assumptions of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis Qualitative research refers to a variety of different research methods that have different philosophical assumptions which may lead to different knowledge claims when compared to quantitative research (Creswell, 2014; Langdridge, 2007; Moon & Blackman, 2014; Morrow, 2005).  The proposed study used an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) methodology   36 to answer the study‘s research question.  IPA is a rapidly expanding qualitative research approach which aims to provide a detailed examination of how individuals make sense of lived experiences (Pietkiewicz & Smith, 2012; Smith et al., 2009; Smith & Osborn, 2008).  The theoretical foundation of IPA is informed by concepts from three central philosophical areas: (1) phenomenology, (2) hermeneutics, and (3) idiography.  The following section will provide an overview of IPA‘s three philosophical axes to provide readers with a basic and broad understanding of the philosophical influences of IPA, as outlined by the primary IPA text, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Theory, Method and Research by Smith, Flowers, and Larkin (2009), and the implications for research.   3.1.1 Phenomenology The first major philosophical axis influencing IPA is phenomenology: a philosophical orientation concerned with perception of an individual‘s experience with a particular phenomenon and their understanding of that experience (Creswell, 2014; Langdridge, 2007; Moon & Blackman, 2014; Smith et al., 2009).  IPA utilizes a interpretive phenomenological research paradigm.  A research paradigm is ―a set of basic beliefs that provide the principles for understanding the world and, hence,  the basic principles underpinning research‖ (Langdridge, 2007, p. 3).  Research paradigms assume particular ontologies and epistemologies that influence how research is conducted (Langdridge, 2007).  Interpretivists argue that there is no subject-object dualism where we can separate the ―real world‖ from people‘s perceptions or experiences (Moon & Blackman, 2014).  With that logic, the ontology – nature of reality that researchers can acquire knowledge about – is the mental constructions of reality by individuals themselves (Creswell, 2012; Moon & Blackman, 2014).  These experiences are influenced and bound by their historical, social, and cultural   37 context (Creswell, 2012; Moon & Blackman, 2014).  Therefore, multiple realities can exist because there are different groups who are influenced by different contexts (Moon & Blackman, 2014).  As such, to understand the nature of reality, researchers have to focus on and carefully examine people‘s lived experiences and their interpretations of those experiences, that are described through language, to understand the meaning of those experiences (Creswell, 2012; Langdridge, 2007; Moon & Blackman, 2014; Smith et al., 2009).  This ontology then influences the methodology employed, and requires the use of specific methods that are subjective to collect naturalistic first-person accounts of experience such as one-on-one, in-depth, semi-structured interviews, to examine individuals‘ experiences and narratives, and thus a phenomenological methodology (Langdridge, 2007).   Experiences can be broken down into what is experienced and how it is experienced (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).  What is experienced requires us to look at the explicit everyday actions that individuals engage in (Smith et al., 2009).  To examine how a phenomenon is experienced requires adopting a phenomenological attitude by being reflective, and shifting our attention from the outside world inwards to our perceptions of our everyday experience (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).  The purposeful direction of our attention inwards, reflection, makes individuals conscious of the taken-for-granted subjective experience and allows them to work out the meaning or significance of the experience (Creswell, 2012; Smith et al., 2009).   3.1.2 Hermeneutics Phenomenology requires researchers to get as close to the participant‘s personal world as possible to understand the individual‘s experiences and interpretations of their experiences (Langdridge, 2007).  Attempting to understand a participant‘s personal world is complicated by   38 the levels of interpretation in the research process (Smith et al., 2009; Smith & Osborn, 2008).  A solution to better understand this complication is hermeneutics – the philosophy of interpretation (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).  Hermeneutics addresses the challenges around interpretation (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).   The interpretivist paradigm purports that everyone‘s experiences of the world are influenced by their values, assumptions, histories, etc. (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).  This means that researchers, are also embedded in and inseparable from the world they inhabit, and it is impossible to fully know and remove their values and assumptions to get as close to the client‘s world as possible (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).  As such, research is a value-laden process, with the researcher interpreting the participant‘s experiences with and meanings of the experience through the researchers‘ own values, prior experiences, and assumptions (Creswell, 2012; Langdridge, 2007; Moon & Blackman, 2014; Smith et al., 2009).  As such, IPA research involves double hermeneutic, a two-stage interpretation process where: (1) individuals are seen as meaning-making beings who seek to understand the world they live in and develop subjective meanings of their world; and (2) the researcher tries to make sense of participants trying to make sense of their world (Creswell, 2012; Smith et al., 2009; Smith & Osborn, 2008).  Therefore, IPA research is a dynamic process where the researchers have an active role in understanding or making meaning of the individual‘s experience (Creswell, 2012).   Researchers‘ own values and assumptions must be critically examined and understood in relation to the researchers‘ broader historical and cultural context to get as close to the client‘s world as possible (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009; Smith & Osborn, 2008).  As such, researchers must identify any preconceptions by positioning themselves in the research and engaging reflexively throughout the research process to identify their biases with the goal of   39 getting as close to the client‘s world as possible (Smith et al., 2009).  This ensures that although researchers are part of the process of understanding or making meaning of an individual‘s experience, the results of phenomenological research are grounded in participants‘ experiences as closely as possible (Smith et al., 2009).   There are also different levels of interpretation the research process aims to present.  Researchers are concerned with both (1) the interpretations designed to grasp the explicit understanding of the individual – hermeneutics of empathy – and (2) illuminating hidden meanings that are not as explicit through research – hermeneutics of ―questioning‖ (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).  The former involves getting as close to the participants‘ world as possible by engaging reflexively throughout the research process to describe individuals‘ experiences and understandings in relation to a particular phenomenon (i.e., relationships after engaging in an endogamous choice marriage).  The latter is achieved when researchers relate existing psychological theories to the experience to provide an increased understanding of the phenomenon.   Finally, the hermeneutic circle is an important concept that highlights the dynamic and inseparable relationship between the parts and the whole (Smith et al., 2009).  The hermeneutic circle manifests in the iterative process of data analysis in IPA where researchers move back and forth from parts of the data to the whole instead of progressing linearly, ensuring that the interpretation is grounded in the data (Smith et al., 2009).  To understand something, analysts have to consider both the part and the whole.  In IPA, this is demonstrated through a concern for particular moments of significance that are linked to a larger experience of a phenomenon by the meanings individuals attribute to the moments.     40 3.1.3 Idiography The third major philosophical axis of IPA is idiography, a concern with a detailed examination of the particular.  The idiographic perspective contends that detailing the particulars of cases bring us closer to generalizations (Smith et al., 2009).  IPA involves an instrumental case study design. During data analysis, IPA provides an in-depth exploration of a single case before moving onto another, and then engaging in cross-case analysis.  The idiographic nature precludes generalizations beyond the particular participants sampled and studied (Smith et al., 2009).  Only after multiple studies, with different homogenous samples, can a comparison of findings across the studies provide an account of the broader patterns of experiences and understandings in relation to a particular phenomenon (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).  3.1.4 IPA and the Current Study IPA, with its major philosophical underpinnings, best supported the purpose of this research.  The aim of this study was to understand the detailed experience of relationships among women in endogamous choice marriages in India and the meaning they make about their engagement with the phenomenon.  IPA‘s conception of experience allowed the researcher to investigate those aspects of the participant‘s experience.  In other words, researchers can describe individuals‘ experience and the meanings individuals attribute to their experiences.  Further, IPA provides directions on accessing the various components of a participant‘s experience.  IPA also provides direction on dealing with researcher values and biases that can emerge during the research process. Finally, the idiographic nature of IPA allowed for the exploratory nature of the proposed research and the limited (although steadily increasing) prevalence of the phenomenon under investigation (i.e., relationships of Indian females in   41 endogamous choice marriage).  As such, IPA was an appropriate research method for the proposed research.  3.2 Research Design The philosophical concepts of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and idiography have been operationalized into a practical method of psychological inquiry in IPA.  The developers of IPA note the danger of methodolatory and recommend a flexible approach to the application of their research method, emphasizing employing procedures that are practical and feasible while still getting at the underlying philosophy that characterizes IPA (Smith et al., 2009).  The current study‘s research design generally followed the guidelines for IPA research developed over the years by its founders and a number of prominent researchers as outlined in Smith et al.‘s (2009) central text. The research design deviated from their guidelines only for practical reasons and to accommodate reasonable standards for a Master of Arts (M.A.) thesis such as sample size and using video-conferencing to conduct interviews with participants in a different country.  The systematic process of conducting this research was followed to ensure that the study was conducted consistently with the proposed design of IPA (Creswell, 2014; Morrow, 2005).  3.2.1 Sample Inclusion criteria for this study were: (a) self-identified females born in India; (b) currently residing in Bengaluru; (c) in a heterosexual choice marriage with someone of the same caste (caste-endogamy); (d) could speak conversational English; and (e) had access to the internet and videoconferencing software (e.g., Skype, WhatsApp).  The inclusion criteria were designed to ensure that participants who were recruited had a lived experience of the phenomenon in question and thus the research question would be relevant and answerable.  The inclusion criteria for this study was fairly open, not specifically recruiting for homogenous   42 participants beyond the variables of gender, type of marriage, and geographical locale (such as age range, religious orientation, or socio-economic status) due to practical constraints.  For example, the number of individuals engaged in choice marriages in India is a recent development and is not as prevalent as those in arranged marriages, limiting the size of the population of interest (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Desai & Andrist, 2010; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008; Lall, 2006).  Further, engaging in choice marriage may still be considered highly deviant in some areas of India and limit individuals‘ willingness to identify themselves in person as engaged in a choice marriage due to fear of violence or harassment (Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  The first and second criteria ensured a degree of homogeneity consistent with IPA guidelines and allows researchers to examine the psychological variability in the group and make comparisons, such as the pattern of convergence and divergence that arises (Smith et al., 2009).  The fourth and fifth inclusion criteria were designed to meet the researcher‘s language and travel constraints.   As noted above, focusing on participants from one part of India allowed the sample being studied to be as homogenous as possible, consistent with IPA methodology.  Recruitment focused on Bengaluru, previously known as Bangalore, partly out of convenience because that is where many of the primary research supervisor‘s contacts are located but Bengaluru also was an ideal recruitment location in its own right.  Bengaluru is the capital of the state of Karnataka and is a metropolitan urban center in southern India.  Being an urban area, choice marriages are more common in Bengaluru than in rural areas (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Malhotra, 1991).  Spousal selection trends in Bengaluru are consistent with national trends (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  In comparison to other regions in India, regions in southern India had substantially lower levels of arranged marriages historically and, at present, show a steady decrease in arranged marriages   43 across time with approximately 15% of spouses being selected for women in the 1970s to approximately 8% in the 2000s (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  Joint mate selection (parents and daughter) appears to now be the dominant method of mate selection in some parts of the south, occurring, for example, among 80% of a southern sample and steadily increasing across time (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  In the south, choice marriages have been steadily increasing but still remain low in comparison to other methods of spousal selection (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016), but choice marriage practices are more prevalent in the south than the north (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  Therefore, Bengaluru was a useful location to examine the experience of current rapid changes in trends toward choice marriages and easier to recruit from.  With the increased autonomy and choice associated with joint spousal selection, and historical trends of steadily declining arranged marriages and steadily increasing choice marriages, further increases in choice marriages in the south are likely.  Further, intercaste marriage continues to occur infrequently in the South.  The proportion of respondents who report intercaste marriages in the south (less than 5%) falls behind the frequency reported in the northeast, east, north, and west regions of India across time, so this suits the inclusion criteria as well (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  In sum, Bengaluru served as an ideal location from which to begin recruiting participants for the proposed study because it reflects many national trends in India in relation to marriages and has an increased frequency of endogamous choice marriages (Allendorf, 2016; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016) which provided increased probability for recruiting participants from the population of interest.   3.2.2 Sample Size IPA studies have sample sizes ranging from one participant (i.e., single case studies) (e.g., Rhodes & Smith, 2010) to 31 participants (e.g., McCann, Lubman, Boardman, & Flood,   44 2017) depending on: (1) the degree of commitment to case study level of analysis and reporting; (2) the richness of individual cases; and (3) researcher constraints (Smith & Osborn, 2008).  Sample sizes in IPA research tend to be relatively small to allow for a more detailed examination of a particular phenomenon with the sample (Smith et al., 2009; Smith & Osborn, 2008).  Smith et al. (2009) recommend recruiting between three to ten participants for a typical IPA study.  Considering Smith et al.‘s recommendations, this study sought to recruit a sample size between a minimum of five and a maximum of 12 participants.  In regards to the minimum and maximum sample size, two additional participants could be recruited to allow for taping errors, unforeseen violations of inclusion criteria, or other problems that would require subsequently excluding those who are interviewed.  A sample size of five to 12 participants was also consistent with the range of sample sizes commonly found in recently published IPA studies.  For example, in recent IPA studies Rees, Valentine, and Anderson (2017) interviewed seven children to examine the impact of parents‘ hoarding disorder on their lives; Ingham, Eccles, Armitage, and Murray (2016) studied same-sex partner bereavement among eight older women; and Dickens, Ebrahim, and Herlihy (2016) explored 10 counsellor education doctoral students‘ experiences with multiple roles and relationships.  A sample size of five to 12 participants allows the researcher to maintain the idiographic spirit of IPA by engaging in detailed case-by-case analysis (Smith et al., 2009).  In the end, six participants were eventually recruited to participate in this study.  3.2.3 Participant Recruitment A variety of sampling techniques were used to recruit participants for this study.  Purposive or criterion-based and convenience sampling techniques were primarily utilized to recruit the closely defined sample of participants who have experienced the particular phenomenon guiding the research (Cozby, 2009; Smith et al., 2009; Smith & Osborn, 2008).    45 Purposive or criterion-based sampling allows researchers to select participants that meet predetermined criteria (Cozby, 2009).  Convenience sampling means sampling from members of the population that are easily available to participate in the study (Cozby, 2009).  In addition, snowball or chain sampling was also employed, by asking participants to identify other individuals who meet the inclusion criteria and inviting them to participate in the study (Morrow, 2005).  These sampling techniques were used due to the high specificity of the phenomenon being investigated.   Local connections with stakeholders who can provide access to the specific research participants this study requires was critical (Creswell, 2014).  As such, recruitment began with contacting the research supervisor‘s contacts in India at Bengaluru universities such as Christ University, Montford College, and Jain University.  They were made aware of the study by an initial letter of contact (Appendix A) and asked to post or distribute flyers (Appendix B) and email their contacts.  The initial letter of contact and advertisements provided a brief overview of the study including the purpose of the study, the inclusion criteria, study procedures, duration of the research, potential impact and outcomes of the study, and contact information for the primary investigator.  Participants were also recruited for this study by posting flyers (Appendix B) advertising the study on community bulletin boards and WhatsApp discussion groups by a particular contact in India.   3.3 Participants Participants included six females in caste-endogamous choice marriages currently living in Bengaluru, consistent with Smith et al.‘s (2009) recommendation of recruiting three to ten participants for a typical IPA study. Participants were between the ages of 25 to 59 (M = 35 years).  Participants were born in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Mumbai,   46 and Delhi and living in Bengaluru, Karnataka between one to 10.5 years (M = 6.3 years).  All six participants identified as practicing Hinduism with two participants identifying as from the Brahmin, three from the Kshatriya, one from the Vishya caste.  All the participants had a minimum of a Bachelor‘s degree in a variety of specializations.  Participants‘ annual income ranged from approximately seven to 50 lakhs (M = 24 lakhs) with two participants not working at the time of the interview due to maternity leave and pursuing further education. For half the participants, their current marital relationship was their first dating relationship. The length of participants‘ current relationship ranged from four to 38 years (M = 12.4 years) with participants being married between one to 32 years (M = 9 years).  Relevant participant demographics are presented in Table 4.1.  Further demographic detail is detailed in Appendix K.  Pseudonyms were assigned to all participants to ensure confidentiality. Table 3.1 Participant Demographics Name Age (Years) State Born In Length of Residence (Years) Religious Affiliation Caste Education Aditi 59 Mumbai 10 Hindu Kshatriya B.Comm. Anika  25 Delhi 1 Hindu Brahmin B.Ed. Diya 32 Tamil Nadu 5 Hindu Brahmin M.A. Jessi 31 Andhra Pradesh 10 Hindu Vishya B.Sc. Mansi 35 West Bengal 10.5 Hindu Kshatriya M.A. Priya 29 Bihar 1.5 Hindu Kshatriya M.D.S.   47  Table 3.2 Participant Demographics Continued Name Subject Annual Income (Lakhs) First Relationship Length of Current Relationship (Years) Length of Marriage (Years) Children Aditi Commerce 24 Yes 38 32 Yes Anika  Education N/A No 4 1 No Diya Communication & Media Studies 15 Yes 14 7 Yes Jessi Biotechnology 7 Yes 6.5 6 Yes Mansi Economics, Statistics 50 No 6.5 4.5 No Priya Dentistry N/A No 5.5 3.75 Yes  3.4 Data Collection  Before data collection, the primary researcher obtained permission from UBC‘s institutional review board.  Interviews of females in caste-endogamous choice marriages in India were conducted for this study between December 2017 and January 2018.  Data collection was conducted by the primary researcher.  Individuals who were interested in participating in the study contacted the primary investigator by e-mail expressing their interest and providing their   48 contact information.  Preliminary e-mail correspondence was established with the primary investigator to ensure that potential participants met the inclusion criteria, to provide them with further information about the study, to address any questions they may have had, and to schedule a two-hour time slot to conduct the research interview.  Participants were asked to schedule interviews through videoconferencing software (e.g., Skype or WhatsApp) at whatever time was convenient for them and in a space they felt comfortable and safe in, and that was quiet and relatively free from interruptions for the duration of the interview.  Participants were also provided with the interview schedule in advance by e-mail so they were aware of what topics the interview would cover to begin thinking and reflecting about the topic of interest (i.e., the components of experience and meaning made by Indian women in caste-endogenous choice marriages about their close relationships).  This preliminary contact also provided a chance to develop rapport between the researcher and the participant to ensure that participants were comfortable sharing stories about intimate areas of their life (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014; Twamley, 2013).  Videoconferencing software, with video, was used whenever possible for data collection.  Videoconferencing software is an alternative to the traditional face-to-face interviews conducted in qualitative research (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014; Seitz, 2016; Sullivan, 2012).  Interviews using videoconferencing software provide the researcher and participants with a synchronous environment that mimics face-to-face interviews (Berg, 2007; Sullivan, 2012).  Similar to face-to-face interviews, videoconferencing allowed for real-time dialogue, rapport development, and a visible relationship that allows the researcher and participant to be informed by and respond to non-verbal cues (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014; Sullivan, 2012).  All those components facilitate participants to share their experiences with a phenomena more deeply and allow the researcher to   49 get as close as possible to the client‘s world.  As such, videoconferencing was a viable method for conducting research interviews for the current study (Smith et al., 2009).  Further, videoconferencing has benefits in comparison to face-to-face interviews because it allows for greater flexibility of when and where interviews are conducted (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014; Janghorban, Roudsari, & Taghipour, 2014; Seitz, 2016).  This flexibility facilitated participant recruitment and openness (Seitz, 2016).   If using videoconferencing, with video, was not an option, audio-only videoconferencing or telephone interviews were utilized.  While audio-only interview methods made it more challenging to mimic face-to-face interview methods, it still allowed the researcher to gather data in a reasonably comparable manner.  The researcher ensured to pay close attention to participant‘s tone of voice during audio-only videoconferencing or telephone interviews to derive non-verbal information that contextualizes clients‘ responses (Seitz, 2016; Sullivan, 2012).  Both videoconferencing and telephone interviews were viable methods for collecting data in qualitative research in the face of financial and logistic constraints of the primary researcher (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014; Janghorban et al., 2014; Sullivan, 2012).  Two of the six interviews were conducted using video while four were conducted solely with audio.  Altogether, the research interviews (i.e., informed consent, demographic questionnaire, and semi-structured interview) took between 1.5 to 2.5 hours.  The first 10 to 15 minutes was dedicated to rapport building and re-familiarizing them with the study procedures and participants‘ rights by reading through the informed consent (Appendix C).  The proposed research did not require deception and the primary researcher was transparent about the research process to ensure voluntary and fully informed consent.  The researcher was open to ongoing and mutual negotiation of consent throughout the research process in light of unanticipated or   50 emerging sensitive issues (Haverkamp, 2005).  Building rapport is an important part of research in India to respect the norms of Indian society, to allow researchers to collect rich data, and reduce issues of desirability bias which may hinder participants from sharing information that may be viewed unfavorably by the researcher (Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Twamley, 2013).   Participants were invited to provide informed consent.  Participants were e-mailed a copy of the informed consent and all six participants provided verbal consent.  Verbal consent was audio- or video-recorded and the date and time of verbal consent was documented.  During this time, a brief demographic questionnaire (Appendix D) was verbally administered by the interviewer which took about 10 to 15 minutes and collected information such as: age, sex, education, religious affiliation, approximate annual income, occupation, length of partnership, number of children, family background, etc.  The remainder of the research interview was focused on engaging participants in a semi-structured interview (Appendix E) which was utilized to facilitate a discussion that enabled a detailed account of the components of experience and meaning made by Indian women in caste-endogenous choice marriages about their close relationships (e.g., As a start, what are the most important relationships that impact your marriage? Can you describe to me what your current relationship with (individual) is like?) (Smith et al., 2009).  The semi-structured interviews for this study ranged from 50 to 120 minutes.  Semi-structured, one-to-one, in-depth interviews are the preferred method for data collection for IPA (Reid, Flowers, & Larkin, 2005).  Smith et al. (2009) describe a qualitative research interview as ―a conversation with a purpose‖ (p. 57).  The aim of the interview is to facilitate an interaction which permits participants to offer rich and detailed stories about their experiences in a phenomenon of interest and discover the meaning they attribute to those   51 experiences.  To facilitate the goals of an IPA interview, the interview schedule contained open-ended questions that did not hold judgment or assumptions, and encouraged participants to talk at length.  Open-ended questions granted participants the ability to tell their stories, speak freely and reflectively, and develop their ideas and express their concerns (Smith et al., 2009).  The interview schedule was used flexibly during data collection as a framework for the interview, moving from general issues to specific ones, but did not govern the discussion (Creswell, 2014). Semi-structured interviews have challenges as well as benefits and for the current study the advantages clearly outweighed the disadvantages.  Some challenges with semi-structured interviews are the reduced control the researcher has in the interview (e.g., it may take a longer time to carry out), and the likelihood that the data analysis process is more difficult compared to a structured interview (Smith & Osborn, 2008). However its advantages of providing space for rapport between the researcher and the participant, allowing greater flexibility of coverage, and producing richer data ensures quality and fulfills the purpose of phenomenological research, particularly IPA (Reid et al., 2005).  Having a semi-structured interview schedule is also helpful for the researcher as he or she will generally be more engaged, attentive, flexible, and responsive to the participant (Smith et al., 2009).  While the initial focus will be determined by questions on the interview schedule, participants were considered experiential experts in the phenomenon of interest and a semi-structured interview provided space to develop a collaborative, non-directive approach where participants were seen as active collaborators in the interview process, determining the content and direction of the interview.  A collaborative approach also helps to reduce the inherent power differential in the researcher-participant relationship (Haverkamp, 2005) and any social desirability bias that may arise (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).     52 During the interview, the researcher adopted the role of the naïve inquirer and active listener, following-up on salient aspects related to the research question that arise in the interview and aspects the researcher did not initially consider (Reid et al., 2005; Smith et al., 2009; Smith & Osborn, 2008).  Prompts (e.g. Can you tell me more about that?), probes (e.g. What do you mean by ―difficult‖?; How did that make you feel?; What were you thinking?), and clarification questions were used to encourage participants to engage in fuller and deeper descriptions of their experience and understandings.  The researcher made short notes of key words or topics participants referred to during the conversation to return to for further investigation.  The researcher also reflected, summarized, and probed participant responses but refrained from analyzing during the interview.  Having an interview schedule and utilizing certain tactics during the interview allowed the researcher to enter as far as possible into the psychological and social world of the participant (Smith & Osborn, 2008).  In sum, the semi-structured interview provided the flexibility and openness required for IPA research alongside structure for a beginning qualitative researcher.  The research interview was video- and/or audio-recorded.  Video or audio recordings are an important component of the IPA process because it allows researchers to go over the interview data repeatedly to capture the overall picture and important nuances of respondents‘ experiences with a particular phenomenon during data analysis (Smith & Osborn, 2008).  Recording the interview also allowed the researcher to be fully present with participants during the interview process to establish rapport, pick up on important aspects to probe about, and make participating in research an enjoyable process for participants.     53 3.5 Data Analysis  Data analysis was conducted in a research team that was composed of the primary researcher and two research auditors.  The research audit team was recruited from undergraduate students at the primary researcher‘s institution.  Research auditors had two main responsibilities: (a) to aid in the transcription of interviews which helped familiarize themselves with the data and (b) act as independent auditors of the analyses.  After the primary researcher conducted independent data analysis for one transcript, one research auditor would read the participant‘s transcript and review the primary researcher‘s themes to ensure that the themes, and theme descriptions, reflected the participant‘s account of their experience.  The research auditors were not involved in analyzing the transcripts and deriving themes, they only assessed the primary researchers‘ interpretations of the data and judged if it reasonably reflected the interview transcripts.  Auditors are a method of establishing trustworthiness across different qualitative paradigms (Morrow, 2005; Yeh & Inman, 2007).  Using auditors is also consistent with IPA research (e.g., Borley & Hardy, 2017; Dickens et al., 2016; Ingham et al., 2016; Rees et al., 2017).   Before data analysis began, the research interviews were transcribed.  Each of the three research team members were assigned to transcribe two interviews.  The interviews were transcribed following a transcription guide (Appendix G) for consistency across research team members.  Content at the semantic level was transcribed (Smith & Osborn, 2008).  Significant non-verbal utterances, such as laughter, pauses, and hesitations were also noted (e.g., [both laugh], [participant laughs], [pause]).  Third parties that are identified in participants‘ accounts were also  altered and their relationship noted (e.g., SV [mother])to maintain the confidentiality of individuals who did not provide informed consent to participate in the proposed research   54 (Haverkamp, 2005).  Participants were assigned pseudonyms prior to data analysis to protect their identities throughout the remainder of the research process. Transcripts were checked over by a second member of the research team to verify the accuracy of the transcript and made corrections as needed.   This research study followed the instrumental case study design.  An instrumental case study design based on IPA‘s systematic and rigorous data analysis process allows researchers to provide a detailed description of the individual components of experience and meaning made by Indian women in caste-endogenous choice marriages about their close relationships.  Cross-case analyses were conducted after each individual case was analyzed to highlight similar or dissimilar experiences and understandings of relationships among individual participants.  Data collection and analysis had occurred concurrently.   In IPA, data analysis is an inductive and iterative process of idiographic inquiry (Smith et al., 2009; Smith & Osborn, 2008).  The idiographic mode of inquiry allows for in-depth engagement with each individual case (Smith & Osborn, 2008).  To learn about the detail and meaning of an individuals‘ psychological world, the researcher participated in a sustained engagement with and interpretative relationship with the data (i.e., transcript) that was grounded in participants‘ actual experiences (Smith & Osborn, 2008).  After a detailed examination of an individual case, an idiographic analysis was applied to the next case, and so on before moving on to analyze the similarities and differences across cases.  The data analysis processes were facilitated by computer software programs (Microsoft Word and NVivo Version 12).  The first step of analysis was for the researcher to familiarize herself with the data.  The researcher immersed herself in the data by reading and re-reading the interview transcript several times and listening to the audio- or video-recording alongside reading the transcript at least once.    55 This process of repeated listening allowed the researcher to focus on a particular participant, become familiar with the participant‘s overall narrative, and the richer and detailed accounts about the phenomena being investigated.  During and after the process of familiarizing herself with the data, the researcher engaged in an exploratory level of analysis.  During this stage of analysis the researcher made (a) descriptive (b) linguistic and (c) conceptual comments (Smith et al., 2009).  Descriptive comments focused on the content of what the participant shared, the things that are important to the participant and their meaning by noting the objects that structure the participants‘ account, descriptions, explanations, assumptions, and emotional responses.  Linguistic comments – such as noting pauses, laughter, repetition, tone, degree of fluency, and metaphors – identify how language was used by participants to present the content and meaning of their experiences.  Conceptual comments progressed the analysis toward interpretation with comments focusing on participants‘ overarching understanding of the matters they discussed by engaging with the text through questioning and at higher/abstract level.  Analysis at this exploratory stage was closely tied to the text (i.e., what participants said verbatim) to avoid superficial reading that is influenced by the researchers‘ fore-structures.  For example, the text, ―If at all you say that who‘s your role model, I everytime says that my dad is my role model‖ was initially coded as ―role model.‖  This was important as the next step of analysis, developing emergent themes, shifted from a focus on the text to a focus on the exploratory notes and ensured that further analysis and abstraction are still tied to participants‘ experience.   In the next stage of analysis, exploratory notes were transformed into concise phrases, or codes, that aimed to capture the essential quality of what was found in the comments, emerging themes.  These themes and phrases spoke to the essence of the initial exploratory analysis, reflecting a combination of both particularity to be grounded in the original transcript and   56 conceptual to reflect the researcher‘s interpretation, and included psychological terminology.  Next, connections between these emergent themes were sought to point out the most interesting and important aspects of the participants‘ account.  The researcher used (a) abstraction; (b) subsumption; (c) polarization; (d) contextualization; (e) numeration; and (f) function strategies to develop connections between emergent themes (Smith et al., 2009).  Abstraction and subsumption are basic methods of identifying patterns between emergent themes by grouping emerging themes together into a super-ordinate theme (abstraction) or emergent themes taking on super-ordinate status and encompassing other emergent themes (subsumption).  Polarization refers to identifying themes based on oppositional relationships among emergent themes.  Contextualization identifies the narrative elements in the analysis and organizes emergent themes based on the time they took place in the narrative.  Numeration simply refers to organizing themes based on the frequency with which an emergent theme arises.  Finally, emergent themes can be organized based on the specific function they play for the participant during the interview.  Certain themes in the initial emergent theme development were excluded if they did not fit with the emerging structure or if there was not rich narrative evidence within the transcript to support them.  Convergent and divergent findings were assessed and reported, the researcher sought out disconfirming evidence, to ensure that the research did not only discuss findings that place participants in a favorable light (―going native‖).  At this point, the transcript was revisited to compile a directory of participant responses that supported related themes and to ensure that these themes connected to the primary source material.  During data analysis, the themes that emerged and participants‘ responses that supported the related themes were organized using identifiers (i.e., page number of the transcript or participant response number, and key words   57 from the particular extract) to facilitate finding the original source from which the themes were derived.   After the primary researcher completed an independent analysis of a single-case, the single-case analysis and associated material (e.g., notes) were provided to a research auditor.  Any analyses that were contended were discussed and resolved.  Through overall team consensus (between the three research team members), any changes that needed to be made were made as necessary.  This consensus method of determining the validity of themes is often employed in IPA research to demonstrate quality (e.g., Ingham, Eccles, Armitage, & Murray, 2016; McCann et al., 2017; Rees, Valentine, & Anderson, 2017) and is consistent with IPA‘s interpretative perspective that was explained above.  Once single-case analyses were finalized, participants were invited to review researchers‘ analysis of their account.  During informed consent, the primary researcher ensured that conducting a member check would be safe (i.e., final results could be returned to the participant without risk of harm), any risks are addressed, and participants‘ preferences are noted.  The primary researcher contacted the participant again approximately four weeks after the research interview via email, attaching the single-case analysis, and provided participants two weeks to respond with any potential changes.  A member check allows researchers to determine that their interpretations accurately reflect participants‘ experiences and meanings (Creswell, 2014; Morrow, 2005) – a component of assessing quality in qualitative research (see Quality sub-section 3.8 for more details).  It also provides opportunities for participants to add additional information they may have missed in the initial interview to add greater depth and richness to the data collected (Creswell, 2014; Morrow, 2005).  The researcher was notified when four of the women received their single-case analysis, while ―read-message‖ notifications were unavailable   58 for the remaining two participants.  Participants were given two weeks to respond, if participants did not respond within two weeks it was taken akin to agreement with the analyses.  None of the participants followed-up with the researcher to contest or disconfirm their analyses, which could be taken to suggest that all participants agreed with the researcher‘s analysis of their experiences. The individual-case data analysis process was repeated until all the interview transcripts had been analyzed.  The researcher took care to treat each transcript on its own terms, consciously trying to bracket ideas emerging from analysis of the previous cases while analyzing the current one.  After all the single-case analyses were completed, the primary researcher moved on to conduct cross-case analyses.  In cross-case analyses, the themes that emerged in single-case analyses were compared to identify higher-order themes across participants.  This step required varying levels of interpretation, discerning patterns, and identifying divergences in the data.  Once the primary researcher had completed cross-case analyses, research audit team checked over the higher-order themes derived to ensure the themes were derived from the single-case analyses.  Any questions that emerged were discussed and resolved to ensure that the analysis reflected the transcript data.  After all the analyses were complete, two experts on choice marriages in India were consulted.  The expert peer reviewers were provided with the final cross-case analysis themes (Appendix I) to assess if the findings reflected their expert knowledge of the phenomenon.  Both expert reviewers reported the final themes and theme descriptions to be supported by participant data and consistent with their knowledge about relationships with important others after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage for women in India (Appendix J).  Additional critiques or suggestions by the expert reviewers were addressed and modifications were made, as necessary (Appendix J).  Finally, the prevalence of themes across the cases were tallied during data analysis.  Data Management    59 Privacy and confidentiality were important ethical considerations for data management during the data collection and analysis process.  Participants were made aware of privacy and confidentiality limitations when utilizing videoconferencing programs during the informed consent process.  During data collection, all participant data, such as informed consent, demographic information, video and/or interview audio recordings, and interview transcripts were stored on a password protected and encrypted computer and external hard drive to protect participant data.  Only research team members and the primary supervisor had access to participants‘ data.  The informed consent further outlined the procedures the researcher had taken to maintain privacy and confidentiality of their data.  3.6 Reflexivity  The constructivist/interpretive axiology posits that research is value-laden with the researchers themselves having an active role in co-constructing the meaning of the individual‘s experience (see 3.1 Philosophical Assumptions of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) (Creswell, 2012; Haverkamp, 2005; Morrow, 2005; Smith et al., 2009).  One method that constructivists/interpretivists use to address subjectivity is by positioning themselves in relation to the phenomenon of interest and making implicit assumptions and biases – that are shaped by aspects such as their background, gender, culture, history, or socioeconomic origin – explicit to themselves and others (Creswell, 2014; Morrow, 2005; Smith et al., 2009).   I am a 26-year old, second-generation South Asian-Canadian female who has lived in North America for 22 years.  I was born in Kathmandu, Nepal.  My interest in studying love marriages in India originates from my observations of different marriage traditions in North America and South Asian countries.  Being from South Asian heritage and having extended family still residing in a South Asia, I have a close connection to the cultural context of the   60 proposed research.  I observed family members engage in traditional arranged marriages and, more recently, in choice marriages.  Although I am familiar with traditional South Asian marriage customs, I do not have as much familiarity with choice marriages because no one in my immediate family has engaged in them.  Although I understand the South Asian cultural context and how choice marriages depart from long-standing arranged marriage traditions, I spent the majority of my life and development in a Western context where choice marriages are the dominant marriage tradition.  With these two outlooks, and no strong proclivity to endorsing either cultural perspective, I believe that I was able to approach this research with a balanced consideration that respects a variety of experiences that may emerge.   The two research auditors involved in this study were both young adult females.  Auditor one is a 26-year old Canadian female with a completed Bachelor‘s degree in Psychology and Geography.  With her European background, Auditor one has a general understanding of Indian culture and highlights family values as a defining characteristic of her understanding of Indian culture.  However, she has a limited to no knowledge about marriage in India.  The concept of a choice marriage is something she has taken for granted and identifies it as an assumption characteristic of growing up in North America.  Regardless, she was interested in this study because of the opportunity to hear stories about the experience of women who grew up and had a different conceptual view of choice.  Auditor two is a 21-year-old, second-generation South Asian-Canadian female.  Her parents are originally from India and she has visited India four times.  Growing up, she witnessed family members engaging in arranged marriages and attended a close relative‘s arranged marriage on one of her trips.  While there have been few choice marriages in her family, she has noticed that younger generations of distant relatives increasingly engaging in choice marriages.  In her experience, reactions to arranged marriages and choice   61 marriages among her family members have not been noticeably different.  At the time the research was conducted, she was in the process of completing her undergraduate degree with a major in integrated sciences (psychology and physiology) and a minor in commerce.  Stating their subjectivities and being self-reflexive throughout the auditing process allowed the two auditors to engage in the auditing process with an open perspective to the data and emerging results.  To manage the subjectivity inherent in research (see 3.1 Philosophical Assumptions of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis) the primary researcher and two research auditors engaged in reflexive practices to monitor and deal with subjectivity that arose throughout the research process (Smith et al., 2009).  To engage reflexively, all members of the research team kept a researcher journal from data collection to data analysis. The researcher journal included an ongoing record of, but was not limited to, recollections of the interviews, initial observations or reactions about the interview, commentary on analytic work, and the general research process.  The purpose of the researcher journal was to become aware of fore-structures which may be activated and prevent them from influencing inductive analysis and allowed researchers to anchor their analysis and interpretation in the data.   3.7 Quality of Research  Quantitative methods of determining traditional validity and reliability have limited application in qualitative research because qualitative research aims to produce different knowledge claims and as such is assessed differently (Morrow, 2005; Smith et al., 2009).  Quality – which is also referred to as validity, credibility, rigor, or trustworthiness – of data refers to methods of determining the accurate reflection of the findings in qualitative research (Haverkamp, 2005; Morrow, 2005).  Smith et al.‘s (2009) recommendation to use Yardley‘s   62 (2000) pluralistic approach to evaluate quality reflects IPA‘s roots in health psychology research that is not as applicable as the field of counselling psychology that this research is in.  As such, the proposed research followed Morrow‘s (2005) transcendental guidelines for qualitative research in counselling psychology for establishing and evaluating this study‘s research quality.  Morrow (2005) identifies (a) social validity, (b) subjectivity and reflexivity, (c) adequacy of data, and (d) adequacy of interpretation as the four transcendent standards in assessing quality in qualitative research.  This section will describe Morrow‘s (2005) standards for assessing quality, relate them to Yardley‘s (2000) criteria, and demonstrate how the current study met them.  3.7.1 Social Validity The first transcendent standard for assessing quality is social validity (Morrow, 2005).  Social validity is a consideration of the importance and applicability of a research topic to individuals or the community, similar to Yardley‘s (2000) impact and importance criteria.  Readers or reviewers can determine social validity by assessing the rationale about the importance of this research provided throughout the introduction and literature review.  As stated earlier, the components of experience and meaning made by Indian women in caste-endogenous choice marriages about their close relationships is an important phenomenon to study because choice marriages are becoming increasingly common in India (Allendorf, 2013; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Desai & Andrist, 2010).  There is a distinct gendered experience (Allendorf, 2013, 2016; Caldwell et al., 1983; Schuler et al., 2006) and previous literature suggest there is an impact in personal relationships (Allendorf, 2013; Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Dhar, 2013; Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  But, there is a paucity of research about this experience.  By contextualizing the current research among the relevant theoretical and empirical literature, this research has met the criteria of social validity, and a component of Yardley‘s criteria of   63 sensitivity to context.  This research is necessary because counsellors in India who do not have an understanding of choice marriages are increasingly working with this population of clients (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  This study has provided counsellors in India and internationally who are working with female clients from similar cultural backgrounds who are in choice marriages a resource to better understand their experience and meaning of their relationships.  If readers and external reviewers agree that studying the lived experiences of relationships among Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages is important, the criterion for social validity is met.  3.7.2 Subjectivity and Reflexivity The subjectivity and reflexivity criteria refers to the degree to which researchers view the research process as grounded in subjectivity and how they go about managing this subjectivity  (Morrow, 2005).  Qualitative researchers address the criteria of managing subjectivity by making their implicit assumptions and biases explicit, reflexivity, and representation (Morrow, 2005).  This study explicitly articulated the proposed research‘s philosophical assumptions and stance on subjectivity with an overview of the philosophical and theoretical assumptions of IPA research (see 3.1 Philosophical Assumptions of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis).  Further, the primary researcher positioned herself in relation to the topic, and members of the research audit team did so as well.  As outlined in Data Analysis section 3.5, researchers were engaged in reflexively in the research process.  Reflexivity was achieved by keeping a researcher journal documenting the ongoing reactions of the research team and emerging awareness of any assumptions or biases throughout the research process.  Having a research audit team also promoted reflexivity by reflecting the researchers‘ analyses or proposing alternative investigations.  Finally, representation refers to fairly representing the lived experiences of the   64 participants (Morrow, 2005).  During data collection, researchers used prompts, probes, clarifications, and member-checking strategies to collect rich data to allow the researcher to fairly represent participants‘ realities.  Implementing these strategies and detailing the impact of the researcher‘s subjectivity and reflexivity in the final manuscript demonstrated how subjectivity and reflexivity are managed in this study.  The criteria for subjectivity and reflexivity is met when readers and reviewers can point out the implicit assumptions and biases of the research paradigm and researchers, determine what biases arose during the research process and how the researcher handled them, and assess that the data fairly represents participants‘ lived experiences.  3.7.3 Adequacy of Data Morrow‘s (2005) third component of quality, adequacy of data, similar to Yardley‘s (2000) commitment and rigour, refers to collecting sufficient breadth and/or depth of data.  Adequacy of data can be met by the researcher providing five major types of evidence: (a) adequate amounts of evidence, (b) adequate variety in the kinds of evidence, (c) interpretative status of evidence, (d) adequate disconfirming evidence, and (e) adequate discrepant case analysis (Morrow, 2005).  The first criteria of adequate amount of evidence refers to the information-richness of the interviews and the analytic capabilities of the researcher (Patton, 2002).  Using a semi-structured interview, developing rapport, prompting, probing, clarifying, and using a collaborative approach ensured that the researcher elicited information-rich responses that met the quality criteria of adequate amount of evidence (Morrow, 2005; Smith et al., 2009).  The reader can assess this criteria in the research report by evaluating the degree to which the research report is characterized with rich, thick description and quotes that reflect the final themes.  The second criteria of adequate variety of evidence refers to obtaining a range of   65 possible types of evidence that will aid in addressing the research question (Morrow, 2005).  Alongside the research interview, the primary researcher conducted a member check to achieve the goal of adequate variety of evidence.  As stated above, the researcher was notified when the women received their single-case analysis but none of the participants followed-up to confirm or disconfirm their analyses, suggesting that participants agreed with the researcher‘s analysis.  As such, the criteria of adequate variety of evidence can be considered to be met.  Third, the interpretive status of evidence refers to obtaining data that is close to the truth of the participants‘ experiences so that interpretations during data analysis are valid.  This criteria was achieved by building significant trust and rapport with participants to provide assurance that participants were telling the truth as they knew it during data collection.  The final two evidentiary criteria for adequacy of data, adequate disconfirming evidence and adequate discrepant analysis, both refer to a deliberate and articulated search for disconfirmation to combat researcher‘s tendency to seek confirmation of their preliminary or emerging findings (Morrow, 2005).  The research  achieved this by explicitly searching for disconfirming evidence in the data, and asking auditors to pay particular attention to disconfirming evidence and alternative interpretations to understand the complexities of the phenomenon to consider alternative interpretations and ensure accurate interpretation (Creswell, 2014; Morrow, 2005).  Readers are able to assess that this criteria is met by noting the complexities of the phenomenon in the final results rather than a simplistic account of the experience.  Achieving the five types of evidence in turn demonstrated meeting the adequacy of data criteria.  3.7.4 Adequacy of Interpretation  Finally, Morrow (2005) refers to the adequacy of interpretation as the last transcendent standard in assessing quality in qualitative research, similar to Yardley‘s (2000) criteria of   66 transparency.  Adequacy of interpretation refers to the methods the researcher takes during the data analysis, data interpretation, and data presentation to demonstrate that the data has been thoroughly analyzed.  Adequacy of interpretation was achieved during data analysis by the researcher immersing herself in the data by repeated readings of interview transcripts to ensure a deep understanding of participant data.  This criterion is assessed indirectly by noting the rich, thick description provided in the final research report.  An explicit articulation of how the data was interpreted also provides evidence to meet the criteria for adequacy of interpretation.  The proposed study had explicitly articulated the analytic framework the proposed research is operating from earlier (see 3.1 Philosophical Assumptions of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis).  Two research auditors provided independent audits after single-case analyses and cross-case analyses to ensure that the primary researcher‘s analyses were grounded in the data.  Agreement by the independent auditors that the primary researcher‘s interpretations reflected the transcript data served to meet this criterion.  In addition, an expert review was provided with the final themes to determine resonance, the meaningfulness of the data (Tracy, 2010).  Communication by the expert peer reviewers that the final analysis reflected their knowledge of the field or experience with this phenomenon served to meet the criterion.  During data presentation, auditors and expert reviewers determined if the adequacy of interpretation criteria was met by assessing if there is a balance between the investigator‘s interpretations and supporting quotations from participants to ensure interpretations of the researcher are grounded in the lived experiences of participants and allowed readers to assess fit between data and the emerging interpretation.  Situating the sample, by providing full information and description about the demographics and circumstances of participants, provide readers with a grounding in the source of the data; this allowed the primary researcher to make appropriate claims limited to   67 the sample which has been analyzed (and allow readers to assess this).  Following the plan set out in this section about Morrow‘s (2005) standards for assessing quality ensured the quality of this research study.  3.8 Anticipated Ethical Issues Ethical issues are important considerations in the research process (Creswell, 2014; Haverkamp, 2005).  Ethics are particularly important when research is conducted internationally due to cultural differences in relation to ethical issues such as informed consent, confidentiality, and autonomy (Petersen, 2017).  This research  followed guidelines of conducting research outlined in the codes of ethics of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA, 2007) and the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA, 2000).  This study was a component of the principal researcher‘s M.A. degree and also followed the ethical guidelines set, reviewed, and approved by the primary researcher‘s institutional review board, the University of British Columbia‘s Behavioral Research Ethics Board (UBC BREB).  The anticipated ethical considerations and how the proposed research addressed them have been highlighted throughout this section.  Further ethical considerations at various stages of the research process and their relationship to the current research was outlined in this section.  One of the considerations before conducting research is the benefits or risks of the research for participants and broader society (e.g., social validity) (Creswell, 2014; Haverkamp, 2005; Petersen, 2017).  Participants may have benefited emotionally from their involvement in this research by providing them with the space to discuss a component of their experiences in their choice marriage.  The perspective adopted for the current research study and methods employed in the semi-structured interview, such as open-ended questions, ensured that participants were considered experts and the researchers‘ values and assumptions were not   68 imposed during the research process (Petersen, 2017).  However, due to choice marriage‘s ―deviant‖ status within Indian culture, participants may also have found the experience stressful or challenging.  The researcher was prepared to provide participants who she assessed to have been distressed by the research interview or who requested further support, with a list of resources (e.g., counselling agencies or help-lines) (Appendix F).  None of the participants requested further support and the researcher did not assess the research interview to be distressing for any of the six participants.  The harm in this study was not expected to be significant from that experienced in the daily lives of the participants.  Further there were societal benefits of the proposed research.  The expanded knowledge of choice marriage in the Indian context contributes to clinical competence for Indian marriage counsellors and counselors in the diaspora, like Canada, who are increasingly working with these individuals but are not well aware of their experiences and understandings (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).   Multicultural competence is critical when researching a cross-cultural population or phenomena (Creswell, 2014; Haverkamp, 2005; Smith et al., 2009).  Multicultural competence with the specific culture, population, and phenomenon of the current research project was ensured by a thorough review of the literature and consultation about the method of conducting research with research supervisors, one of whom had previously conducted research in India, and an international student from India currently studying at UBC for one year.  Strategies taken during data collection, such as building rapport, developing a collaborative relationship where the participant is seen as the experiential expert, and respecting the participant allowed the researcher to engage in the research process with multicultural competence.  Practicing with multicultural competence ensured effective and ethical research practice.    69 A unique ethical aspect in the qualitative research process is the relationship between the researcher and the research participants (Haverkamp, 2005).  Haverkamp (2005) notes that the boundary between the role of the researcher and the practitioner needs to be kept in check.  When clients consent to research they consent to sharing information about their experiences but do not consent to engage in an interaction that might change their lives in some way (Haverkamp, 2005).  This is relevant because the principal researcher is an M.A. student in Counselling Psychology and is learning to become a counsellor alongside having engaged in the proposed research.  The researcher-participant relationship was self-monitored and debriefed with the primary supervisor while conducting the research to ensure a minimal power differential and that the principal researcher was maintaining their role as a researcher.  Privacy and confidentiality were major ethical considerations during the research process (Creswell, 2014; Petersen, 2017; Smith et al., 2009).  Using videoconferencing and telephone interview methods during data collection presented unique ethical considerations about privacy and confidentiality (Sullivan, 2012).  There is a possibility that companies providing videoconferencing and telephone services are tracking conversations, locations, or identities of research participants, and that the conversations between them are being recorded and stored (Sullivan, 2012).  The possibility of this privacy and confidentiality concern associated with using videoconferencing software and telephone providers was disclosed in the informed consent alongside security policies for the videoconferencing software participants prefer to use (Appendix C).  The security policies for the anticipated videoconferencing software used in this research are provided in Appendix C.  Every effort was made to utilize videoconferencing software that is encrypted, such as WhatsApp, so that communications remained between the researcher and participant, reducing concerns about privacy and confidentiality.  Nevertheless,   70 depending on participants‘ perceptions about the sensitivity of the research interview, privacy and confidentiality concerns about videoconferencing software or telephone providers may not even be considered important (Sullivan, 2012).  Attention to the ethics and quality of research need to be balanced at the data presentation stage.  Rich, thick description is a characteristic of strong qualitative research but also makes it harder to maintain participant confidentiality (Haverkamp, 2005).  To balance between the two, participants are identified by pseudonyms, sensitive information (e.g., unique and identifiable descriptors, sensitive experiences) was altered or referred to in generic terms.  Confidentiality is particularly important because this study was relying on participant recruitment through snowball sampling and participants may recognize individuals that they referred (Creswell, 2014).     71 Chapter 4: Findings This chapter presents an analysis of the data collected from participant interviews.  First, an overview of the independent others identified and explored in-depth during the research interview is provided.  Next, the biographies of the six women who took part in this study are presented to ground readers in the data sources (i.e., participants).  This is followed by a detailed discussion of the six overarching themes that were found in the analysis.  Rich, thick description, using verbatim extracts from participants‘ interview transcripts will be used to illustrate and support the themes and the common and unique aspects of participants‘ experiences.  These results begin to answer the research question, ―What is the meaning of close relationships for Indian females who are in caste-endogamous choice marriages?‖ 4.1  Important Other(s) Identified All the women identified relationships with their caregivers as the most important relationships they believed were impacted by their choice marriage.  Two women, Jessi and Priya, identified and spoke at length about one individual, either their father or mother, respectively.  Three others, Anika, Diya, and Mansi, identified both their mother and their father or uncle as important relationships that have been impacted by their caste-endogamous choice marriage, distinguishing their experiences with each.  One participant, Aditi, identified her parents, not distinguishing between her mother and father.  Despite being explicitly invited to do so, Aditi stated that her experiences with both her parents was the same and not distinguishable. Table 4.1 below summarizes the important others identified by specific participants.  Table 4.1 Important Other(s) Identified  Name Important Other(s) Identified Aditi Parents (mother and father as unit)   72 Anika  Father, Mother Diya Father, Mother Jessi Father Mansi Uncle, Mother Priya Mother  4.2 Participant Biographies 4.2.1 Aditi Aditi is a 59 year-old Kshatriya female who married a family friend of the same caste.  Originally born in Mumbai, Aditi moved to and has lived in Bengaluru for 10 years.  With a Bachelor of Commerce, she earns approximately 24 lakhs per year.  Being the oldest woman in the sample of participants, Aditi has also been in a relationship with and married to her husband for the longest duration among the participants sampled, 38 years and 32 years, respectively, with children who are thinking of having children themselves.  Aditi identified her relationship with her parents, together, as the close relationship that has been impacted by her caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Being at a different stage of life, Aditi‘s important others have passed away, and she recalled what her relationship was like with her parents for the research interview.  Aditi remembers her relationships with her parents as being relatively good and characterized by independence and providing them with care. 4.2.2 Anika Anika is a 25 year-old Brahmin female who engaged in a caste-endogamous choice marriage with the man her aunt had initially had in mind for her.  Originally born in Delhi, Anika moved to Bengaluru recently, living there for one year.  With a Bachelor of Education, she is currently continuing academic pursuits with a Master of Art (M.A.) in counselling psychology.    73 As the youngest participant, Anika and her husband have been together and married for the least amount of time among the sample of participants.  The couple has been in a relationship for four years and married for one year.  Anika identified her father and mother as the close relationships that have been impacted most by her caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Anika‘s relationship with her important others is both positive and negative.  Recently married, Anika wants her relationships with her important others to stay the same while her important others, especially her father, advise her to adapt to her new marital roles and responsibilities; this is a source of tension between Anika and her important others.  Nevertheless, they continue to be close and their relationship after Anika‘s choice marriage has improved.  4.2.3 Diya Diya is a 32 year-old Brahmin female who engaged in a caste-endogamous choice marriage with her first romantic relationship.  Originally born in Tamil Nadu, Diya moved to and has lived in Bengaluru for five years.  With a M.A. in communication and media studies, she earns approximately 15 lakhs per year.  Diya and her husband have been in a relationship for 14 years and they have been married for half the time with children.  Diya identified her father and mother as the close relationships that have been impacted most by her caste-endogamous choice marriage.  She described her experience in her relationship with her important others as ―very positive.‖  The independence Diya‘s parents fostered – by treating her as an ―adult‖ and giving her opportunities to ―make her own decisions‖ – continues into her current relationship with her mother and father after marriage.  Diya‘s mother ―admired‖ her personality and ―strength‖ ever since she was young.  While her father was an elusive figure in her early childhood, he became more present as she grew up and they developed a ―friendship.‖  She respects her parents and appreciates that they have raised her to be an independent woman.    74 4.2.4 Jessi Jessi is a 31 year-old Vishya female who had a choice marriage with the first individual she was in a romantic relationship with.  Originally born in Andhra Pradesh, Jessi moved to and has lived in Bengaluru for ten years.  With a Bachelor of Science in biotechnology, she earns approximately 7 lakhs per year.  Jessi and her husband have been in a relationship for 6.5 years.  They have been married for six years and also have children.  Jessi identified her father as the close relationships that have been impacted most by her caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Overall, she described her relationship with her father to be strong and positive.  Jessi‘s relationship with her father is characterized by a strong degree of care from both parties.  Ever since she was a child, Jessi‘s father was her primary caregiver, making important decisions for her and Jessi placed her trust in him.  They developed a strong relationship which continues to the present.  4.2.5 Mansi Mansi is a 35 year-old Kshatriya female who had previous relationships and then married someone from the same caste who she met through a wedding arrangement website.  Originally born in West Bengal, Mansi moved to and settled into Bengaluru 10.5 years ago.  She earned her M.A. in Economics and Statistics and earns approximately 50 lakhs a year.  Mansi and her husband have been in a relationship for 6.5 years and they have been married for 4.5 years.  Mansi identified her uncle and her mother as the close relationships that have been impacted by her caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Mansi‘s maternal uncle stepped into the caregiving role with her mother after her father passed away after she graduated from university and had begun working abroad.  She returned to India after her father‘s passing to care for her mother, taking on responsibilities of an adult much quicker than she anticipated.  While most girls‘ fathers would   75 take responsibility of the marriage task, her uncle took on the responsibility in her father‘s absence.  Mansi‘s uncle and mother were very hands-off in Mansi‘s process of finding a marriage partner.  While she strives for greater connection with her important others, Mansi continues to be largely independent in her relationship with her important others.  4.2.6 Priya Priya is a 29 year-old Kshatriya female who had previous relationships and then married someone from the same caste who she met through a wedding arrangement website.  Originally born in Bihar, Priya moved to Bengaluru recently, living there for a year and a half.  She earned her Master of Dental Surgery and recently left on maternity leave to care for a recently born child.  Priya and her husband have been in a relationship for 5.5 years and they have been married for 3.5 years. Priya identified her mother as the close relationship that has most been impacted by her caste-endogamous choice marriage.  She described her relationship with her mother to be positive, with a desire to develop her relationship with her mother further.  Growing up, Priya had two other siblings, one with a genetic disorder.  As a result, her mother‘s attention was largely focused on taking care of her sibling with a genetic disorder, and Priya did not receive as much attention as she would have liked from her mother growing up.  Observing the sacrifices her mother made to take care of her and her siblings, Priya still retains a strong appreciation for her mother and attributes the positive qualities she has developed to her.  Priya‘s relationship with her mother can be characterized by a balance between Priya‘s independence and her mother‘s continued care.  4.3 Collective Themes From participants‘ stories of their experiences in their close relationships after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage, six common themes emerged.  The core structure of the   76 relationships Indian women have with their close others after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage is illuminated through these core themes: connection, support, responsibility for elders, responsibility for marriage, validation, and respect.  Below a summary of the six themes are presented alongside the prevalence with which each theme appeared among the participants (i.e., the number of participants who presented with the specific theme). Table 4.2 Prevalence of Final Themes Themes Aditi Anika Diya Jessi Mansi Priya Prevalence Connection Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6 of 6 Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6 of 6 Responsibility for Elders Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 6 of 6 Responsibility for Marriage No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 5 of 6 Validation Yes No Yes Yes No Yes 4 of 6 Respect No No Yes Yes Yes Yes 4 of 6  Three of the themes – connection, support, and responsibility for elders – were common to all participants. The other three themes – responsibility for marriage, validation, and respect – were included as common themes due to the salience of the theme for the relevant participants and their prevalence across at least two-thirds of the participants.  The themes of validation and respect were experienced similarly by all the participants for whom these themes were present. The other four themes (support, connection, responsibility for elders, and responsibility for marriage) were experienced somewhat differently across participants that they were relevant for.  The different experiences encapsulated within each theme are detailed to provide a more nuanced and in-depth understanding of these Indian women‘s experiences of their close relationships after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  A description of the four   77 themes that are experienced differently across participants will be presented later, alongside a table providing a brief overview of the distinct characteristics in which participants experience the specific theme to ensure idiographic experiences are not lost in the larger narrative.  While these themes are presented as distinct categories for the ease of presentation, it is important to note that these themes intersect and influence each other to explain participants‘ experiences.  For example, the themes of support and responsibility for elder may both work together to influence a woman‘s boundary-setting behavior with her important others.  Definitions of the final six themes are presented below.  Table 4.3 Definition of Final Six Themes Themes Definition Connection Degree of changes in closeness women experience in their relationships with their important other after having a choice marriage and its associated impacts. Support Degree to which women seek out and are provided with implicit (i.e., care and understanding) and explicit supports (e.g., emotional, tangible, or informational assistance or guidance) from their important others. Responsibility for Elders Degree of women‘s experiences with caregiving tasks and roles with their important elders and how they engage with their important others to fulfill them.   Responsibility for Marriage Degree of women‘s experiences taking on tasks and responsibilities for their caste-endogamous choice marriage and how they engage with their important others to fulfill them.   78 Validation Degree to which women feel recognized or affirmed of their actions, feelings, and perspectives about tasks associated with their choice marriage or general life from important others. Respect Degree of women‘s admiration for their important others.   The results below use selected participant quotes to substantiate similar and dissimilar experiences of the theme for each participant.  Additional quotes substantiating participants‘ experiences of themes can be found in Table 3 of Appendix I.  Women‘s experiences in their relationships with their important others were varied and experiences across demographic variables (i.e., age, length of relationship, or length of marriage) were generally not consistent.  Some of these themes are relevant to women‘s relationships after marriage in general, while others appear more specifically related to the experience of relationships for women engaged in a caste-endogamous choice marriage.   4.3.1 Connection The theme of connection refers to the degree of change participants experience in their relationships with their important others after having a choice marriage and its associated impacts.  All six participants reported experiences associated with connection in their close relationships.  These Indian women experienced changes in their interactions with their important others which resulted in meaningful impacts on them.  Despite changes in their interactions with their important others, the sampled Indian women continued to experience a strong emotional connection with their important others which were maintained through the different ways they engage with their important others.   Table 4.4 Overview of the Distinct Characteristics of the Connection Experience  Names Characteristics   79 Aditi Diya  Experienced a decrease in their interactions with their important others due to their new roles and responsibilities.   Calls and visits between important others and the women continue in order to stay updated on things that are relevant in important others‘ lives.  These women‘s emotional connection with their important others have not changed. Jessi Mansi Priya  Experienced a decrease in their interactions with their important others due to their new roles and responsibilities.  Desired increased connection with their important others.   Calls and visits between important others and the women continue in order to stay updated on things that are relevant in important others‘ lives.  These women‘s emotional connection with their important others have not changed. Anika  Experienced an increase in the frequency of interaction with her important others after her caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Desired increased connection with their important others.  Calls and visits between important others and the woman continue in order to stay updated on things that are relevant in important others‘ lives.  This woman‘s emotional connection with her important others has increased.  Marriage brought on new roles and responsibilities for four Indian women to adopt which impacted their relationships with their important others.  Participants identified work-life balance, being a mother, and developing relationships with in-laws as new roles and responsibilities they had to take on.  These new roles and responsibilities were prioritized and led   80 to decreased interactions with their important others for four of the sampled women.  Below, I have provided sample quotations that indicate participants‘ shifting priorities as a result of their new roles and responsibilities:  Anytime it was both of us [participant and her husband] against the world, both of us against anybody else, both of us together solving a problem […] we are like partners in crime trying to cheat the world around us...  (Diya)  ...really busy. To tell you, I have two kids, I go to office.  Once I‘m back [from work] I need to take care of both of them.  So I don‘t have much time to talk to my parents […] I have, I have my own life, like official life.  (Jessi)  ...if someone doesn't like an individual [...] even if there is a slightest pinch in something, it is [...] you know, blown out of proportion.  So that is exactly what was made by his [husband‘s] mom. And since most of the rituals were done by my uncle, my uncle was blamed for it, which in turn made me make a choice, that, ‗You can't be so interactive with him but you have to reduce your frequency of interaction with him.‘ (Mansi)  ...I don‘t call her [mother] much often because if I don‘t call my mother-in-law, she complains... (Priya)  The women spoke with their important others frequently before marriage from everyday for ―more than half an hour,‖ ―two hours,‖ ―thrice in a week,‖ to ―three to four times in a month.‖  After marriage, these interactions decreased for five out of the six participants to ―fifteen minutes a day,‖ ―once in a week,‖ or ―10 minutes, 5 minutes, 2-3 minutes.‖  Together, shifts in priority and decreased interactions led three of the women to feel worried about not spending enough time with her important others, guilty for prioritizing new marital relationships before their other important others, and a sense of ―distance‖ from their important others.  For Jessi, there is ―no time at all‖ to connect with her important others.  The three women miss their important others and desired greater connection with them.  However, for two of the participants, changes in interactional patterns after marriage resulted in increased understanding and connection with their important others.  Some sample quotations substantiating the interpretation above follow:   81 I grew like close to my parents because I realized their importance, and yeah. So since then we have been quite close, so yeah. And after getting married we are even more close.  (Anika)  With my marriage, I get to understand my mother better. Yeah, like what challenges and consequences she would have had. And before marriage if she used to advise me on something, I could not relate to her much. But post marriage and post baby, uh I relate to her so much [...] her words now it has meanings for me because earlier I was not able to comprehend [...] I value my mother more.  (Priya)  Regardless of changes in their quality of connection with important others and associated emotional impact on them, four of the sampled women continued to feel a strong emotional connection with their important others. For example: ...love feeling, affection... (Aditi)   Same, same as ever. Very good, very strong... (Diya)  I feel like I‘m, like I‘m totally happy. I don‘t have any issues [...] I feel like very secure.  (Jessi)  ...we still have a very strong emotional connect emotional bondage... (Mansi)  The constant sense of love in their relationship with their important others motivated all six of the women to engage with their important others to varying degrees. Telephone conversations were the most frequently cited interaction between participants and their important others.  How telephone conversations generally occur between women and their important others are highlighted below: I used to ring them [parents] up every day... (Aditi)  ...she [mother] keeps asking me, ‗Ok, what‘s new? What's new?‘ and I‘m like, ‗Nothing is new. Nothing is new. Nothing is new mom.‘ So earlier, earlier I had things to tell her like [...] whatever small things like you do when you settle in your house like what kind of bed, or what kind of anything... (Anika)   ...during the weekday, those five days, there are at least two times I speak to them and I speak to them for good time right, like at least twenty minutes, what is happening, what had happened the last three days and what is- what are their plans for the next three days, and if there is something else that I want to update them on... (Diya)    82  So, ‗How are you? Where are you? What are you doing? You had lunch? You had dinner? [...] Where are you? [...] How is your business?‘ I mean I‘ll ask about my brother, ‗Did he call you?‘ Or my uh aunt and all my relations and all, they stay there nearby my native. I talk about them. So I‘ll say that, ‗This was happen today‘ [...] I‘ll talk about my baby for sometime my [...] I‘ll talk about B‘s [husband] business [...] Some of the other thing we have to talk about. (Jessi)  ...my interactions [with my mom] are daily, day to day normal interaction that's all... (Mansi)   …when she [mother] starts to miss her granddaughter, she calls up and she says let me just see her. She‘ll talk to her and she‘ll hang up. She won't take much of our time… (Priya)  Telephone conversations were a convenient tool used to relay day-to-day life events and keep themselves and their important others engaged in each other‘s lives.  Visits with important others at any time or during festivals and involving important others in ceremonies and rituals were other behaviors that four of the Indian women engaged in to maintain connection with their important others.  Although interactions with their important others changed, mostly due to the new roles and responsibilities associated with marriage, these Indian women ensured to maintain their connection with their important others.  4.3.2 Support This theme encompassed the various implicit and explicit supports women sought and received from their important others.  Implicit supports include care and understanding. Indian women made different meanings out of their support experiences which influence their own behaviour in their relationship with their important others.  Participants were offered explicit support such as, emotional, tangible, and informational support from their important others and used these supports to varying degrees.  How caste-endogamy impacted these women‘s relationships with their important others and support is highlighted below, including differences.    83 Support was present in all of the participants‘ experiences in their close relationships albeit sometimes in notably different ways.  Table 4.5 Overview of the Distinct Characteristics of the Support Experience  Names Characteristics Aditi Diya Mansi  These women receive implicit support, such as care and understanding, from their important others.   These women seek informational support from their important others.  These women are confident that their important others will be there for them when needed.    These women perceive important others to continue to be concerned for them and engage in behaviors to limit important others‘ support Anika Jessie Priya  These women receive implicit support, such as care and understanding, from their important others.   These women seek informational, tangible, and emotional support from their important others.  These women are confident that their important others will be there for them when needed.    These women perceive important others to continue to be concerned for them.   All six of the sampled women experienced implicit support such as care and understanding in their relationships with important others after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  For example, Diya identified that her parents were monitoring her happiness and well-being in her marriage.  Aditi experienced care from her parents during her weekly visits when her parents would cook Aditi her favorite meals.  Four of these women experienced   84 implicit support through their important others being understanding of the women‘s new roles and responsibilities after their choice marriage:   If I am busy then I tell her that, I‘ll talk to you after some time so she‘s [mother] like okay... (Anika)  Even my dad calls me, if the baby‘s awake, I‘ll not be able to talk to him. So later on I‘ll call him in the night and talk to him. That‘s it.  (Jessi)  ...my parents and my maternal uncle knew that they are not getting high regards from my in-laws, but they never protested [...] now when they are seeing that I'm having the liberty to interact with them at the same pace like before, they really don't bother what happened in that in between time phase.  (Mansi)  ...my mom has, since my marriage, started to give me time and space to build up new relationships.  (Priya)  These four women did not experience any negative reactions for their important others as they entered new life stages and adopted new roles and responsibilities.  Rather, these four women‘s important others adapted to the women, changing their behaviors to support the women to engage in their new life tasks.  Some of the sampled women experienced care more explicitly through emotional, tangible, and informational support.  Five of the Indian women in the sample described experiences of seeking information and guidance from their important others about a range of concerns such as running a household, career direction, or raising children:  ...so if in case I needed some sort of advice, they [parents] were there for advice...  (Aditi)    ‗How should I cook this? How should I cook that?‘ so I still ask that... (Anika)   ...say it's with respects to a gas or something else because we‘ve just setup our house and we are young, I will pick up the phone and ask my dad, What is it, and how should I do it?‘ right, and if I don't know something to cook and I actually want to cook it, I will call up my mom and ask, ‗How do I cook it?‘...  (Diya)   ...with my uncle if I‘m, if I seek any opinion on my professional side like [...] if I‘m seeking any opinion, what should be- what should I do in this situation, I drop him a   85 message saying ‗Ok- Ok I'm facing this problem in the office, what should I do now?‘ (Mansi)  ...I ask her [mother] silly questions that, ‗How many times a baby should poop in a day?‘ (Priya)   Further, three women in the study rely on important others for emotional support:  ...I immediately called my parents and I was like- I was all crying that, ‗I don‘t want to live here, please take me, please take me back I want to come back home, I can‘t live here.‘ (Anika)  Yeah in any situation if I‘m, if I have any problem, if I wanna, if I want to talk to about it to anyone, first one I can talk to my husband and the other one is my dad.  (Jessi)  There are times she [mother] supported me, there are times she has rejected my thoughts completely, but whatever she does, she clears my mind.  (Priya)  These three Indian women make particular meanings out of their support experiences which may in turn influence their own behavior and engagement with their important others.   Unlike their understanding of the larger Indian context, five of the Indian women participants continued to experience support from their important others, as described above.  Women described that, in India, after having a choice marriage, many important others likely would not support the couple and the couple would be required to face any challenges, marital or otherwise, ―on [their] own.‖  As such, receiving support from their important others, regardless of the degree of or type of support, strengthened five of the women‘s beliefs that their important others continued to deeply care for them and would always be there for them:  They [parents] will be there, yeah. They will be there.  (Anika)  ...they'll [parents] always be there...  (Diya)  He [father] still take care of me, whatever I have, whatever issues I have… (Jessi)  ...I also know he's [uncle] there in times of crisis... (Mansi)  ...she [mother] was always there for me [...] she said, ‗You can come up anytime and you can tell me what you want, if you have any problem, I can help you.‘ (Priya)   86  Despite engaging in a non-traditional marriage, most of the women felt secure about the care and support they would receive from their important others.   When they got married, women understood their caregivers to have a ―cause of concern‖ about their happiness, well-being, security, etc.  Three women, perceived their important others‘ extensive degree of concern to influence important-other-initiated support, such as asking about or providing their help with women‘s well-being, their children, in their marriage, living alone, and managing daily tasks: ...they [parents] used to keep checking on me, that, ‗Are you okay? Is he keeping you happy? Are you in any kind of physical trouble? Does- is he forcing you for anything you know in your sexual life or anything?‘ So I said ‗No no no, there is no problem at all.‘ So for first six months I think, ya, six to seven months they always used to ask me, ‗Are you happy? Is he keeping you happy? Are you okay?‘  (Anika)  Even if I sounds low on a call when I‘m talking to him [father], easily he gets it, like, ‗Why am I, uhh, like that?‘ It might be official problem uhh in my personal life or official life, ‗What is it?‘ (Jessi)  ...my mom was like, ‗Your baby is so docile, just let me take care of her, and you go with him [husband].‘ (Priya)  Anika, specifically, felt an increase in care from her mother after her choice marriage:  ...my relationship with my mother changed a lot, like she‘s more caring, like she‘s just more caring now...  While the degree of care provided by her important others can become overwhelming and elicit feelings of annoyance or irritation, Anika understood her important others‘ concerns and felt ―lucky‖ to have important others who care enough to go against Indian norms to continue to support and care for her.   On the other hand, an awareness of the amount of care and concern important others continue to have for the women was also a component of two of the women‘s motivations to limit their important others‘ support behavior.  Diya and Mansi were not regularly reliant on their   87 important others and sought their support ―only if there‘s a need‖ or as ―required,‖ and they relied on their important others largely for informational support.  Both women consciously limit support that their important others may initiate by telling them that ―all is well‖ or avoiding conversations about themselves.  These two women act in these ways to ensure that important others feel ―relaxed‖ and are not worried about participants. 4.3.3 Responsibility for Elders All six participants in the sample experienced responsibility for their elders – experiences with caregiving tasks and the caregiver roles with their important others.  The women in the sample varied on the type of care provided and the degree to which they provided care to their important others.  Responsibility for important elders included a health focus and – similar to the support the women received from their important others –practical and emotional support.  The degree to which participants engaged in caretaking activities range from thinking of important others as a priority, to initiating dialogue about important others‘ well-being, to having a caretaking role.  Women‘s context and life stage may influence the level of care they provide.   Table 4.6 Overview of the Distinct Characteristics of the Responsibility for Elders Experience  Names Characteristics Aditi Diya Mansi  Motivated to take responsibility for their important others.   Adopt a caregiver role and responsibility for their important others which is characterized by an increased degree of commitment.  Jessi Priya   Motivated to take responsibility for their important others.  Responsibility for their important others characterized primarily by communicating with them about their health.  Anika  Motivated to take responsibility for their important others.   88  All six Indian women in this sample were compelled to take responsibility for their elders.  For example, Priya described her motivations to take responsibility for her elders because she was ―supposed to,‖ ―they [important others] brought us up.‖  These six women were appreciative of their important others and thought of taking care of their important others as a given, a natural aspect of their life stage, or an opportunity to repay their important others for the care they have provided them.  Participants‘ motivations to take responsibility for their important others manifested in providing different levels of care. Contextual factors, such as the age of a parent or the death of a parent may have influenced the participants‘ motivation to take responsibility.  One of the women experienced responsibility for her important others differently than what was more common among other women in the sample.  Anika‘s responsibility for her parents manifests implicitly by her important others continuing to be a priority for her:   I told him [father] straightaway that, ‗Papa see you are my biological parents [...] you will always be my priority.‘   In other words, Anika did not report engaging in explicit behaviors to support her parents, but she still prioritized and cared for them.  The next level of care provided by this sample of married Indian women is characterized by interactions focused on elders‘ health as demonstrated by four of the women:   ...ask them whether they took their medicines or not... (Aditi)   ...it's about asking how are they keeping themselves engaged...then it's more about their health... (Diya)  ...how about his [father] health... (Jessi)  ...when I get time I do call her [mother] and ask her about her health. (Priya)  Participants are aware that as they are growing up and accomplishing life tasks, their important others are also growing older.  Two of the women‘s experiences with responsibility for elders   89 were largely characterized by interactions focused on their important others‘ health.  The women‘s engagement with their important elders required some agency on their part but was not a high level of commitment.  For the other three women, responsibility for elders extended to them adopting a caregiving role.  Two of these women felt like a ―guardian‖ or thought of their important others as their ―dependents‖: In fact, after my father became old and he retired [...] because I had no brothers, I had taken up the responsibility and they were my dependants... (Aditi)  I think for my mom, the role has changed or swapped a bit, so far she was my guardian but over the last four or five years or three years, I think I am protecting her more because of her age and since my dad has passed away now. So I would say that role has a little bit swapped [...] but protecting whom, is the, is the role has swapped, so so far she was protecting me from things, now she was guiding me from things, now I'm doing the same.  (Mansi)  Diya on the other hand does not explicitly state taking on a caregiver role, but she is similar to these two women in the sample, Aditi and Mansi, due to her intentionality and agency in her relationship with her important others, she ―make[s] it a point‖ to speak with her important others.  For these three women, they provide– and their important others expect – instrumental and emotional support.  For example, Diya‘s mother is largely reliant on her, ―...my mom still expects that strength from me [...] she's very emotionally dependent on me...‖  Instrumental support consisted of taking care of important others while they were staying with the women, ensuring that important others had everything they need such as groceries, and paying for any expenses (i.e., health care treatments).  Overall, these three Indian women worked to ensure that their important others were ―not lacking anything.‖   For the latter group of women‘s experiences with responsibility for elders (i.e., those three participants that take on the caretaking role), taking on the caregiver role may be influenced by their context.  For two of these women, significant events (i.e., medical illness, death)   90 occurred in their lives which influenced the degree of responsibility they took on for their elders.  Overall, as may not be unexpected, the general trend suggests that as women get older, the level of care they provide for their important other increases, which coincides with aging and likely increased health problems of their elders.  4.3.4 Responsibility for Marriage The theme responsibility for marriage refers to the degree of participants‘ experiences taking on tasks and responsibilities for their caste-endogamous choice marriage and how they engage with their important others to fulfill them.  Responsibility for marriage was present in five of the six participants‘ reported experiences in their close relationships.  For the five women, responsibility they experienced for their marriage was explicitly influenced by having a choice marriage.  Three of the women took responsibility for their marriage by setting boundaries, varying in how they set boundaries (i.e., actively or passively).  One participant‘s very unique experience of the theme is also discussed in consideration of age and length of marriage.  Table 4.7 Overview of the Distinct Characteristics of the Responsibility for Marriage Experience  Names Characteristics Diya Mansi  Perceived responsibility for their choice marriage.   Actively set and maintain their boundaries with their important others.   Jessi Priya  Perceived responsibility for their choice marriage.  Set boundaries for themselves to limit the support they seek from their important others but are receptive to unsolicited support for their marriage. Anika  Perceived responsibility for their choice marriage.  Focused on establishing boundaries with her important others.     91 The experience of five women in the sample illustrates how the issue of choosing a marriage partner can impact the responsibility they feel for their marriage in their relationship with their important other.  All the participants believed that responsibility for a marriage and its associated consequences should be attributed to the individual(s) that picked the husband.  From their perspective, the responsibility for marriage in an arranged marriage would fall to their important others. Instead, in their case of choice marriage, the responsibility fell on them and their partner alone:   ...if I would have been in a[n] arranged marriage, whatever problems I would have faced, my parents would have taken [...] the responsibility because they [...] have chosen the family and the guy for me [...] they would have felt a bit guilty about it. (Anika)  ...if I got into an arranged marriage [...] if I had troubles at home, it would have definitely impacted my relationship with my parents, and I might also tend to take that blame back to them, saying guys you found this stupid guy for me... (Diya)  If at all he [husband in hypothetical arranged marriage] is not uh nice choice of my father‘s and I used to talk to my- I, I used to tell my father like, ‗You have choosen this for me, right now I am not happy. So all this has happened because of you [...] I don‘t know this guy that you have seen their family. You thought that he‘s a nice person and you got me married with this person, right now he‘s behaving like this.‘ (Jessi)  ...I had the liberty to blame them [mother and uncle], and say, ‗Ok I got married to this guy because he is, he was your choice, now face the consequences, now fix it.‘ Now I can't say that because I got married to my option or my choice. I can't put a sorry face and go there in front of them. (Mansi)  I married man of my choice. I could not just get up and tell her [mother], ‗Okay, I have these problems.‘ (Priya)  Jessi believed that important others would ―blame‖ them for challenges that occurred in their marriage because they chose their husband:  ...if something might have gone wrong so he [father] might be like very angry or very upset with me, saying that, ‗I have told you that you have never minded, see this has happened‘...     92 As a result, three of these women held rigid beliefs about being able to seek support from their important others about their marriage:  ...it's my [marriage] choice right and I can't take my troubles back to them... (Diya) [italics added]  ―...now I can't say [‗fix it‘] because I got married to my option or my choice. I can't put a sorry face and go there in front of them [mother and uncle].‖ (Mansi) [italics added]   ...you just can't get up one day call them [parents] and say that, ‗Okay, I have this problem.‘ (Priya) [italics added]  Consistent use of absolute language, like ―can‘t‖ highlights how constrained these three women felt about their ability to seek support from their important others about their marriage.   Women‘s beliefs and feelings about having a choice marriage motivated them to engage in behaviors to take responsibility for their marriage in different ways.  Two of the women consciously and proactively engaged in establishing and maintaining boundaries in their relationships with their important others.  Diya set up an ―initial expectation‖ about the degree of contact she had with her important others by limiting how much she visits them and talks to them on the phone:  ...first year of our marriage we were staying separately, and my parents were also in the same town, but I told them I don't want to visit them every weekend such that the expectation becomes that I will have to visit them every weekend... in a month we will go and visit them only twice or thrice and while in a whole month only we will call them over...and this conversation of talking to them on the phone everyday and all, I said I will not do it...  Other strategies these two participants used to establish boundaries are through not initiating or redirecting conversations about their marriage, and limiting or omitting information they share with their important others: ...[tell them] very less about me, because if they [parents] ask about me I have to tell them all is well here. (Diya)    93 ...anything with them personal on that note if they [mother and uncle]...I don't specifically share anything with them on this note. (Mansi)  As part of taking on responsibility for marriage, setting boundaries with their important others also functioned to protect these two women‘s husbands and their important others:  ...I didn't want to be very transparent about what was happening within the confines of my house, whether I‘m fighting with V [husband] or I'm, I‘m being happy with V [husband], I don't want everything to be translated to the third person, such that they start define what V [husband] is right... (Diya)   ...there are sometimes situations which I am deliberately hiding from them just to keep things uh more relaxed, and more ease, and settled, yes that you can say sometimes I do because I just, I know that telling or sharing things with them won't help with me, they can't fix it. Rather, they will get just anxious... (Mansi)  For these two participants, boundary setting fulfilling two purposes – as a way to take responsibility for marriage and to protect their husband or their important other – motivated them to maintain the boundaries they set in their close relationships.  For one other woman, her boundary-setting behavior is not as proactive as the Diya and Mansi‘s behaviors.  Priya‘s boundaries are directed towards herself and she limits the support she seeks from them about her concerns in her marriage: ...once you grow up it becomes all more difficult and you begin to think in your mind that okay I am an adult I can deal with my problems myself [...] that was the mindset that I had and I was like, oh no I can, I can just do it, I can just make this work, and this is my marriage. (Priya)  As such, while limiting the support she seeks for her marriage, she is receptive to receiving unsolicited support from her important others about her marriage.  For Priya, boundary setting in her relationship with her important other was in response to, and functions to meet, social expectations associated with her life stage.  Generally, for these three women, important others are responsive to these women‘s behaviors and respect the boundaries they set.     94   Unlike the other women who have established boundaries and engage in different behaviors to maintain those boundaries, Anika‘s experience with responsibility for her marriage is distinct.  Anika‘s focus is on asserting responsibility for and establishing boundaries for her marriage in her relationship with her important others.  She experiences the same weight of responsibility for her choice marriage as the other women, but receives a lot of advice from her important other about how to take on responsibility for her marriage, especially about her behaviors with her in-laws: ...he [father] wants me to balance between my parents and his [husband‘s] parents and I want to come at my home only [...] so he [father] wants me to balance that, ‗You should also go there, you should also spend time with them, and you should also time with us also.‘ He wants me to balance.  Her father‘s encroachment on her responsibility for marriage is associated with a mix of strong emotions.  These interactions are ―annoying‖ and she ―doesn‘t really feel good when my father asks me to do certain things which I, which I don‘t agree with,‖ it is ―disappoint[ing]‖ that her father does not understand the intentions behind her behavior (e.g., connecting with her family).  Anika tries to assert her agency by voicing her desires, but to ―avoid conflict‖ and maintain a positive relationship with her father, Anika usually concedes to her father‘s direction.  For example, she said:   So there are certain things I don‘t want to do at all. But I still do it because I want to avoid conflict.  Anika was the youngest participant, 25 years-old, and married for one year, the shortest of any of the women in the sample.  However, the small sample did not allow for extensive comparisons along the age or duration of marriage demographics to be more certain of its influence.    95 4.3.5 Validation Validation refers to the degree to which participants feel recognized or affirmed of their actions, feelings, and perspectives about tasks associated with their choice marriage or their general life, from their important others.  Participants experience validation from their important others through verbal feedback and observing various behavioral interactions between their important others and their marriage partner.  For two women, engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage was an important determinant to receiving validation for their choice marriage.  Women also experienced validation beyond their choice marriage to their abilities to manage life tasks associated with adulthood.  Four of the women in the sample experienced the theme of validation in their relationship with their important others.  Three of the four participants experienced validation from their important others about their choice marriage in several different ways.  Three of the Indian women received validation from their important others mainly through important others‘ verbal approval and behaviors incorporating their husband into their family.  Important others shared positive verbal feedback with women, referring to their husbands as ―good‖ and ―nice.‖  These three Indian women also observed their important others engaging in welcoming and inclusive behaviors. For example, Diya‘s important others buy her husband‘s favorite chocolate for dessert when she and her husband visit them because ―they know he likes to have a sweet.‖  Aditi‘s family incorporates her husband into the family further by ―including [her] husband‘s opinion [for] any important decisions they had to make.‖  Jessi‘s father even went so far as to defend her decision to have a choice marriage and her husband to their traditional relatives.  The welcoming and inclusive behavior important others provide women‘s husbands serve to bolster women‘s‘ confidence that that her important others accept her husband as a ―son.‖  These three participants describe that   96 Indian caregivers tend to be concerned about their daughters.  This concern may be associated with making decisions for their daughters as they are growing up.  As such, important others‘ behaviors such as accepting women‘s choice marriage decision and not worrying about the women after their marriage are perceived by women further served as experiences of validation of their choice marriage from their important others.  For these three women, experiencing validation of their choice marriage from their important others was an overwhelmingly positive experience and accompanied by relief, happiness, and feeling respected.   Having a caste-endogamous choice marriage was identified, by two of the women, as a factor which allowed for the experience of validation in their relationship with their important others.  These two women perceived caste to be important considerations of their important others for their acceptance of their choice marriage:  ... since we were from the same caste, that's a huge plus... (Diya)   If at all I said he [husband] doesn‘t belong to my community, he [father] would have never, uh, have agreed for this marriage. (Jessi)   Engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage allowed these two participants to maintain their close relationships with their important others as well to preserve their important other‘s ―face‖ (i.e., reputation) amongst their relatives or the broader community.   Three of the women also experienced validation from their important others for accomplishing tasks associated with adulthood.  Tasks such as helping important others make decisions, finding employment, and taking care of their children were experiences in which participants experienced validation from their important others.  Some supporting quotations are: Whatever decisions my parents had to take, they would ask me for my decisions and all that. (Aditi)  ...that he [father] knew we were going through those struggles, he knew we were trying to make things happen, and somewhere he was just standing there and looking at it as to   97 how we were going through not trying to step in and taking, take away that pride, that my husband has in doing these things, all the pride that I have in doing this...but it also gave us strength that okay what we're doing, we‘re actually doing it the right way and acknowledgement has come from my dad. (Diya)   ...she [mother-in-law] used to say, ‗Oh you will not know how to bathe the baby, you would not know how to hold her head.‘ Her take on life is that you would not know, and it is only me who can teach you [...] My mom‘s take is, you have to uh do it to know it. My mom‘s take is like that and my mom is like unless you do, how would you know that you can do it? So my mom is like, ‗See according to me you are not a dumbhead, so if you see me giving bathing your baby for like a month at the max, you‘ll learn what it is. It‘s not a rocket science.‘ (Priya)  These three Indian women felt that their important others trusted their abilities to manage adult responsibilities which increased their self-confidence in being able to accomplish tasks associated with adulthood. 4.3.6 Respect The theme of respect highlights participants‘ admiration for their important others.  Respect was present in four of the women‘s narratives about their experiences with their important relationships after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  The four Indian women evaluate their important others very positively and experiences associated with their marriage have served only to increase the respect they have for their important others.   Four of the Indian women perceived important close others to be important and worthy of respect, evidenced by making positive evaluations when referring to them.  These four women described their close others to be their ―hero[s],‖ ―role model[s],‖ and ―mentor[s]‖ ―[showing] us how we should live.‖  As a result of holding their close others in high esteem, these four women strive to emulate their close others, consider their advice seriously, or attribute their positive qualities – such as patience, persistence, confidence, and courage – to their close others.  In contrast, challenging interactions with her mother-in-law left Mansi regretting not consulting or receiving greater input from her important others when she chose her husband, ―if they [mother   98 and uncle] would have given their opinion and experience [...] maybe I would have got a better alliance.‖  Her regret at not receiving her important others‘ input demonstrates the high regard she has for her important others and their suggestions in her life.  For two of these women, their respect for their important others‘ increased after observing their behavior surrounding their caste-endogamous choice marriage or after their marriage.  Being from a traditional community that does not ―give importance to the daughters or what their thoughts are,‖ for Jessi, her father‘s acceptance of her choice marriage increased the degree of respect she has for him, ―this actually this instant has given more respect and love for my dad.‖  While Diya ―[got] immense respect‖ for her father when she learned that he was aware of the challenges she and her husband were facing during a period when she was unemployed, but did not interfere with their lives or step-in to help them.  Parents providing them with independence and accepting their decisions increased these two women‘s respect for their important others.   4.3.7 Conclusion Overall, Indian women‘s experience with their close relationships after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage are largely positive.  The six themes of connection, support, responsibility for elders, responsibility for marriage, validation, and respect were characteristic of many of the participants‘ experiences in their relationships with their close others.  Connection and support were experiences these women established in their relationship with their close others as they were growing up which generally continued after their caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Experiences of respect and responsibility for elders, though present before, increased after women‘s caste-endogamous choice marriages.  Amongst the overall themes, Indian women had similar as well as distinct experiences, suggesting that their relationships with their close others are quite multifaceted.   99 In Chapter 4, the findings from the present research study were reported. This chapter began by introducing and contextualizing the six Indian women who participated in this research study.  Next, it moved on to provide definitions for and substantiate the six overarching themes that emerged from the research using participant quotes.  In Chapter 5, the findings will be related to the existing literature, this study‘s limitations will be highlighted, and future directions for research discussed.     100 Chapter 5: Discussion The purpose of this study was to describe and understand components of Indian women‘s experience and the meanings they make of their experiences in their close relationships after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  The research question guiding this study was: ―What is the meaning of close relationships for Indian females who are in caste-endogamous choice marriages?‖  This chapter discusses the six themes described in Chapter 4 in relation to the existing literature.  Limitations of the current study and future directions will also be discussed.  5.1 Embedding the Results in the Literature This study found the presence of the six themes – connection, support, responsibility for elders, responsibility for marriage, validation, and respect – within participants‘ experiences of their relationships with important others after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  However, variation between participant‘s experiences of the themes was also found.  The ideas that this particular sample of Bengaluru-resident Indian women expressed are supported by the existing literature on choice marriages, and specifically by the cultural concepts of ―saving face‖ and filial piety.   5.1.1 Demographic Characteristics Associated with Choice Marriage The sample‘s demographic characteristics are similar to the characteristics of individuals who engage in choice marriages identified in anthropological and sociological literature.  The choice marriage literature in India suggests that individuals who decide to have choice marriages tend to be homogenous and characterized as part of a younger, well-educated cohort (Allendorf, 2013; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Malhotra, 1991).  The demographic characteristics of this study‘s participants are consistent with previous findings, which provide some basis for the   101 broader applicability and resonance of the results beyond this particular sample of women. For example, almost all of the women in the sample were between the ages of 25 to 35 – and choice marriages tend to be more prevalent among the younger cohort of Indian women (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Malhotra, 1991).  Further, all the women had a minimum of a Bachelor‘s degree in different fields.  This finding is also  consistent with research that increased education is associated with and mediates trends toward increasing autonomy in partner choice among Indian women (Banerji, 2008; Caldwell et al., 1983).  Increased education has been found to influence Indian women‘s autonomy, and thus increased choice in their marriage partner (Bhandari, Kutty, & Ravindran, 2016).  Education also increases the likelihood of employment and financial stability, additional factors associated with increased choice in spousal selection in India (Caldwell et al., 1983).  Extended schooling provides women with the opportunity to socialize with members of the opposite sex and find a suitable marriage partner.  Individuals who are younger and have higher levels of education are more likely to be exposed to individualistic values, endorse developmental idealism, and choose their own spouses (Allendorf & Thornton, 2015; Bhandari et al., 2016).   The settings in which the sampled Indian women met their partners – university, work, and family celebrations – promote caste and religious homogamy (Kalmijn & Flap, 2001), providing a potential explanation for the religious homogeneity of this research study‘s participants.  Hinduism is the most commonly practiced religion in India; in 2011, 79.8% of the Indian population practised Hinduism, with Islam being the second most commonly practised religion at 14.2%, and 6% of the population practising a miscellaneous variety of other religions such as Christianity, Sikhism, and Buddhism (Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, 2011a).  Accordingly, it is no surprise that the six women in the sample were   102 drawn mostly from the Hindu community.  While Hindu women in India reported less open attitudes than their Christian counterparts and more open attitudes than Muslim counterparts about choice marriages, these marriages largely continue to be caste-endogamous (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Bhatnagar & Agrawal, 2002; Bittles, Sullivan, & Zhivotovsky, 2004; Singh, 2010).  The prevalence of caste-endogamy within Hinduism may be related to the caste system being closely tied to the religion (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Dhar, 2013).  However, there are no significant differences in the number of Indian women from different religions who engage in caste-endogamous marriages (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  In other words, most Indian women, regardless of religious background, do not differ in the degree to which they practise caste-endogamous marriage.  This suggests that Hinduism, with its close connection to the caste system and the prevalence of Hinduism among the Indian population continues to be a strong influence in  the practise of the caste system among the broader Indian population (Dhar, 2013).  As such, adherents of other religious beliefs in India are exposed to the caste system and its associated norms, and engage in practices consistent with the caste system.  Nevertheless, religious support for the caste system in Hinduism may enforce the credibility of the caste system in India and impact marriage practices even more strongly among Hindus than individuals who practise other religions (e.g., Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.).  Therefore, caste-endogamy may have been an important influence on the quality (i.e., positive or negative) of this study‘s sample of Hindu women and their relationships with their close others.   In sum, the characteristics of this sample of Indian women are consistent with previous research findings about individuals who engage in choice marriages in India, providing some basis for the resonance of the results of this study beyond this particular group of women.   103 The sample‘s characteristics are also similar to the demographic characteristics of the Bengaluru population.  Overall, Bengaluru‘s population tends to be highly educated because Bengaluru attracts the largest amount of educated migrants (47.7%) among India‘s megacities –very large cities, usually with a population of over ten million people (Sivaramakrishnan & Mukhopadhyay, 2013).  Similarly, all the women in the sample were highly educated migrants, with a minimum of a Bachelor‘s degree and living in Bengaluru for varying lengths of time.  Consistent with broader national trends, Hinduism is the most commonly practiced religion in Bengaluru and accounts for 78.9% of Bengaluru‘s population (Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, 2011b).  As such, it makes sense that the women recruited for this study were all Hindu.  Being an urban area and in south India, choice marriages are more common in Bengaluru than in rural areas or in north India (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Malhotra, 1991).  Individuals who live in or close to urban areas are more likely to endorse developmental idealism and have a choice marriage (Allendorf & Thornton, 2015).  As such, the sample of Indian women recruited for this study was a reasonably representative one for Bengaluru and findings might be transferable to understanding the experience of other women in caste-endogamous choice marriages in Bengaluru.  5.1.2 Choice Marriage Experiences in India The impact on individuals‘ relationships with their close others is one component of a complex set of experiences for Indian women engaged in choice marriages in India.  Nevertheless, relationships with close others are considered a ―crucial‖ aspect of the choice marriage experience (Dhar, 2013, p. 11).  This section will focus on relating the findings of the current study with previous literature on choice marriage experiences (e.g., Bedi & Rogers, 2016; Dhar, 2013), with a focus on experiences with close others.     104 There were a number of different experiences Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages in this study had in their relationship with their important others.  The choice marriage literature is overwhelmingly characterized by its adverse consequences on close relationships, especially parents and relatives (Allendorf, 2013; De Neve, 2016; Dhar, 2013; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008; Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  Some of the key relational consequences for individuals engaged in choice marriages identified in anthropological and sociological literature are: marginalization by broader society, increased family violence, discrimination, and estrangement from families and communities (Allendorf, 2013; De Neve, 2016; Dhar, 2013; Fuller & Narasimhan, 2008; Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  Caste-exogamous couples in Dhar‘s (2013) study were not accepted by their family members and, as a consequence, had to make separate living arrangements after marriage.  Unlike the majority of anthropological and sociological literature and Dhar‘s (2013) caste-exogamous couples, caste-endogamous couples in Bedi and Rogers‘ (2016) study and the Indian women in this study described their relationships with their important others as strong and positive, overall.  Participants in this study, specifically, characterized their positive relationships with the themes of continued connection, support, and validation of their choice marriage.  Dhar‘s (2013) sample also highlighted experiencing objections to their caste-exogamous choice marriage from relatives by neglecting or severing relationships with the couple and their family.  One couple in Bedi and Rogers‘ (2016) study also reported negative impacts on their relationship with their family due to the lack of acceptance by members of the broader society.  In this study, for one participant, Priya, the experience of receiving backlash from her relatives for her choice marriage actually improved her relationship with her important other.  For Priya, her father defended her decision and her partner, increasing her respect for him and feeling validated in her partner choice.    105 Findings from this sample supports the existing literature that choice marriages tend to impact individuals‘ relationships with their close others.  Comparing findings from this study‘s participants to the anthropological and sociological research, and caste-exogamous choice marriage experiences suggests that the type of marriage individuals engage in (e.g., caste-exogamous or caste-endogamous) may influence the quality (i.e., positive or negative) of individuals‘ relationships with their important others after having a choice marriage.  Specifically, much of the negative experiences choice marriage couples had in Dhar‘s (2013) study might be more related to caste-exogamy than choice marriage itself.  Another important component of women‘s experiences after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage was the responsibility for their marriage and experience of support.  The findings of responsibility for marriage and support among this sample‘s participants are similar to Bedi and Rogers‘ (2016) theme of independence with its sub-themes of family support and responsibility.  Their theme of responsibility is characterized by the notion that the consequences of a choice marriage are the choice marriage couple‘s responsibility because parents and family members did not help in choosing their partners (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  Five of the participants in this study also endorsed similar experiences about the responsibility for their marriage consistent with Bedi and Rogers‘s (2016) participants‘ experiences.  In relation to family support, choice marriage couples in Bedi and Rogers‘s (2016) sample perceived that they did not have the usual supports from their parents and family members that arranged marriage couples would have (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  Contrarily, Indian women in this study experienced varying degrees of support from their important others both related to and unrelated to their marriage.  However, Indian women in this sample, were active agents in establishing boundaries with their important others, limiting the support they received, in an effort to take on the responsibility for   106 their marriage.  Despite available support from their important others, the women in the present study felt constrained in their ability to seek support from their important others.  This suggests that broader implicit norms about marriage in India, such as ―saving face,‖ may be impacting the support-seeking behaviors with their important others among these particular Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages from Bengaluru.  This study extends the existing literature on caste-endogamous choice marriages by describing the different experiences this sample of participants had about support and responsibility for marriage in their close relationships from Bedi and Rogers‘s (2016)  participants.  Describing different experiences allows for greater nuance of participants‘ experience with the phenomenon to develop for future research to explore and clinicians to be aware of.  The different results from this study in comparison to the previous caste-endogamous choice marriage research (e.g., Bedi & Rogers, 2016) may have been the result of methodological and sample differences.  The purpose of Bedi and Rogers‘s (2016) study was to provide a preliminary and atheoretical understanding of the experiences of couples in choice marriages in India.  As such, the results of this  study provides an overview of the range of choice marriage Indian couples‘ experiences in their relationships with family members, within the marital relationship (e.g., healthy boundaries and emotional compatibility), and with broader social/cultural constructs (e.g., media and religion) (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  Conversely, the current study was interested in providing an in-depth understanding of one aspect of choice marriage individuals‘ experience, their relationships with their close others.  With a narrower focus and theoretical grounding in the phenomenological, hermeneutic, and idiographic traditions of IPA, this study may have been able to describe this sample‘s experiences more thoroughly, and distinguish greater nuances in the experience.  As such, in addition to the   107 findings discussed above, participants‘ experiences with their close others were also characterized by the additional themes of responsibility for their elders and respect.  Further, sample differences may also account for differences in the experiences with close relationships after a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Bedi and Rogers (2016) recruited couples in the state of Punjab, located in north India.  As stated previously, choice marriages are likely more common in Bengaluru because it is an urban center and located in south India (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Malhotra, 1991).  The positive experiences that the sample in this study had could be a function of the region from which the sample was drawn.  The frequency of choice marriages in a region may influence close others‘ receptivity to participants‘ choice marriages and thus participants‘ experiences with their close relationships.  Further, Bedi and Rogers (2016) collected experiential data in relation to the phenomenon (i.e., choice marriages) by interviewing both members of the couple, usually together.  This study focused on the experiences of Indian women, independently, to understand their unique gendered experience of choice marriage in India.  The differences highlighted above might account for some differences in this sample‘s reports of their experience with their close relationships in comparison to Bedi and Rogers‘s (2016) findings.   5.1.3 “Saving Face”  Findings from this study are also supported by characteristics of collectivism, especially the characteristics of ―saving face‖ and filial piety (Dion & Dion, 1993, 1996; Hofstede, 1984; Hui & Triandis, 1986).  The concept of ―saving face‖ – preserving family honor – is a component of in Indian society that can help us understand the broader implicit norms in Indian society which can help explain women‘s experiences of responsibility for marriage and validation for their choice marriage.  ―Saving face,‖ is closely tied to Indian gender roles.  In   108 India, women have been historically considered symbols of family honor and have the responsibility of passing on cultural traditions (Dasgupta, 1998; Srinivasan, 2000; Yuval-Davis, 1997).  As a result, women‘s behaviors, especially around sexuality, are usually carefully monitored and restricted in comparison to their male counterparts, and this further supports the practices of arranged marriage (Abraham, 2002; Chowdhry, 2004).  Many young Indian girls learn, thorough gender socialization, the ―proper way‖ a girl should behave to preserve their family‘s honor.  Motivated by this concept, many Indian women act in ways to preserve their family‘s honor (Mishra & Basu, 2014).   The theme of responsibility for marriage can be understood in relation to ―saving face‖ in the context of India‘s broader patrilineal context.  India‘s patrilineal family structure means that after marriage, women often leave their natal families and become part of her husband‘s family (Allendorf, 2016).  Before marriage, Indian women‘s behaviours to ―save face‖ can serve to protect her natal family (Dasgupta, 1998; Srinivasan, 2000; Yuval-Davis, 1997).  After marriage, ―saving face‖ may now largely apply to her new family, as Diya commented, referring to her partner and her child, ―we have to protect over the family.‖  As such, the women in this sample may be compelled to take responsibility for their marriage to ―save face‖ in their relationship with their important others, after their marriage.  Behaviors Indian women in this study engaged in such as establishing and maintaining boundaries, and limiting or omitting information with their important others may serve to ―save face‖ in their relationship with their important others.  These actions appear to allow them to demonstrate to their important others that their decision to engage in their caste-endogamous choice was ―right.‖  The actions that these participants engage in to take responsibility for their marriage may also serve a dual function.  Engaging in limiting behaviors about their marriage with important others seemed to allow these sampled women to   109 receive validation from their important others about the appropriateness of their choice marriage.  Through these limiting behaviors, important others were likely receiving the impression that the women‘s choice marriages are largely positive and therefore are largely unaware of potential challenges, allaying any of their concerns and providing the women with validation for their choice marriage.   5.1.4 Filial Piety  Collectivism also manifests in the specific construct of filial piety.  Filial piety is a construct that helps us better understand these Indian women‘s experiences of responsibility for elders, respect, support, and connection in their close relationships after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  Filial piety is a culture-specific concept which refers to the reciprocal relationship between children and their parents to care for each other (Kuhu & Awasthi, 2017).  It has been frequently identified in Asian cultures with their collective values and informal support systems, to explain adult children‘s caregiving attitudes and behavior (Chen, Wu, & Yeh, 2016; Sung, 1998; Wong, Leung, & McBride-Chang, 2010).  Collective values, tradition of informal support, and studies on the influence of filial piety on Indian-immigrants suggests that filial piety is a core value in Indian society (Das & Kemp, 1997; Diwan, Lee, & Sen, 2011; Saha & Dey, 2013; Sharma & Kemp, 2012).   Filial piety is thought to develop in different ways.  Beliefs about filial piety are positively influenced by maternal warmth (Wong et al., 2010).  Indian women in this study highlighted experiencing a great deal of implicit support such as care and understanding, similar to the characteristics of warmth assessed by Wong and colleagues (2010), in their relationships with their important others which may influence their beliefs about their responsibility for elders.   The women in this study also experienced explicit supports such as emotional, tangible, and   110 informational supports.  According to the gratitude for special goods theory, receiving both implicit and explicit supports – ―special goods‖ – is a necessary condition for the development of filial piety (Welch, 2012), so it is not unexpected that the thoughts and behaviours of the women in this study are consistent with filial piety.  In sum, participants‘ experiences with support in their relationships with their important others may explain the reciprocal support they experience for their parents in their responsibility for elders.  Chen and colleagues‘ (2016) dual filial piety model distinguishes filial piety by how it develops.  Reciprocal filial piety ―encompasses children‘s natural intimate affection for and gratitude to their parents‖ while authoritarian filial piety is characterized by an emphasis on ―children‘s obligations towards their parents‖ (Chen et al., 2016, p. 81).  Indian women in this study highlighted a combination of beliefs that they are ―supposed to,‖ gratitude, and appreciation as motivating factors of their responsibility for elders – demonstrating both aspects of filial piety.  While some of the women clearly shared their motivations to be solely due to obligation or appreciation, many of the women were influenced in their responsibility for elders by a bit of both.  Even the women who expressed distinct motivations are likely to be motivated by broader social forces of Indian society, such as collective values and norms, which influence their motivations to take responsibility for elders.  Rather, in my estimation, Indian women in this study‘s motivations for filial piety were better explained by Welch‘s (2012) gratitude for special goods theory which suggests that children are obligated by gratitude to provide for their parents, as long as certain conditions are met.   Filial piety is also associated with certain behaviors and can impact adult child-parent relationships.  Reciprocal filial piety is characterized by children providing support for parents as they age while authoritarian filial piety involves suppression of the child‘s needs for the parent‘s,   111 and unconditional compliance to parents‘ directives (Chen et al., 2016).  The themes responsibility for elders and respect, manifest through behaviours such as prioritizing their important others, frequently checking-in on their health, providing emotional, practical, and financial support, positive evaluations of caregiving figures, and respect for their authority, are consistent with the behavioral norms associated with reciprocal filial piety and filial piety, generally, in the literature (Chen et al., 2016; Kuhu & Awasthi, 2017).  Indian women‘s use of telephone conversations and visits are frequent tools used by other participants to express their filial piety (Sung, 1998).  These behaviors positively impact adult parent-child relationships.  Existing literature demonstrate that there are positive correlations between filial piety and lower parent-child conflict (Kim, Kim, & Hurh, 1991) and family cohesion (Cheung, Lee, & Chan, 1994).  Filial piety also mediates the effect of supportive parenting on the quality of the parent-child relationship and family life (Chen et al., 2016).  In other words, behaviors associated with filial piety may influence positive adult parent-child relationships.  Similarly, Indian women in this sample, characterized their connection with their important others after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage, overall, as positive.  As indicated above, the themes responsibility for elders, respect, support, and connection - can be considered in light of the filial piety literature.  The findings of this study provide partial support for the dual filial piety model, suggesting further research is necessary to determine the model‘s appropriateness for the Indian population.  Instead, this study provides preliminary support for the gratitude for special goods theory and suggests that filial piety research would be improved upon by expanding the focus to a broader set of caregiver relationships in the Indian context.   112 5.2 Implications for Mental Health Professionals   The findings from the participants of this study provide a preliminary and tentative knowledge base for counsellors to understand Indian women‘s caste-endogamous choice marriage experiences.  Associations of the findings from this sample of participants with concepts such as ―saving face‖ and filial piety highlight the broader cultural norms that these women are embedded in.  These concepts may have influenced these participants‘ experiences with their important others.  This suggests that, if appropriate, mental health professionals may find it helpful to begin a conversation to discuss the strengths and limitations these broader social norms provide in relation to Indian women‘s challenges in their choice marriages.  Understanding the potential influences of culture on Indian women in a caste-endogamous choice marriage‘s experiences should increase counsellors‘ multicultural competence and clients‘ satisfaction with counselling services (Constantine, 2002).   An important component of this sample of women‘s experiences in their close relationships was the sense of responsibility for their marriage.  Indian women in the present study felt that they had to deal with the consequences of their choice marriage independently and felt constrained about seeking support from their important others.  Three of the participants described their sense of inability to seek support with ―can‘t‖ beliefs.  Rigid and extreme thinking, such as ―can‘t,‖ is associated with psychological distress (Al-Mosaiwi & Johnstone, 2018; Egan, Piek, Dyck, & Rees, 2007).  Counsellors should be aware of the potential for such strong beliefs about the responsibility for marriage when working with Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages and the potential impact on seeking support from their close others about challenges in their choice marriage.  Therapies or interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, designed to focus on changing rigid and extreme thinking to more realistic   113 thinking, may be helpful when working with some Indian women with similar characteristics and experiences (Furlong & Oei, 2002).  Comparing the findings from this sample of women with the choice marriage literature suggests that it may be important for counsellors to be aware of what type of choice marriage individuals are engaged in – caste-endogamous or -exogamous choice marriages.  Clients in different types of marriages may experience very different degrees of support from their close relationships.  Couples engaged in caste-exogamous choice marriages in Dhar‘s (2013) study experienced rejection from their close others, whereas, the six Indian women in this study experienced support and connection in their relationships with their close others.  This suggests that close others may continue to be a viable source of support for Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages.    This research primarily serves to describe and help understand the meanings of the experiences of the six women sampled in this study with the hope that future practitioners find some relevance of the results of this study for their objectives.  These suggestions should be considered tentative and speculative due to the limited and homogenous sample of the participants from which they are derived.  Nevertheless, the current study and its suggestions for mental health practitioners provide counsellors with an empirical research resource to understand some Indian women‘s experiences in their close relationships after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage.  5.3 Limitations  This study, to the best of my knowledge, may be the first qualitative research investigation into, solely, Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages‘ experiences with their close relationships.  I was unable to locate any studies on the experiences of Indian   114 women‘s caste-endogamous choice marriages on their relationships with their close others even when consulting Indian databases such as Shohdganga, Indian Journals, Indian Science Abstracts, IndMed, National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, and the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development.  While this study strived to provide a thorough review of the literature on caste-endogamous choice marriages in India, it is possible that research on Indian women‘s experiences after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage may have been stored in research databases that I did not access.  While this study was informed by general qualitative and specific IPA research standards, as suggested by the literature (e.g., Smith et al., 2009), the findings need to be considered in light of several limitations.  Due to the qualitative nature of this study, this study explores subjective experiences and precludes causal claims.  The small sample size and idiographic nature of this study precludes confident generalizations of the findings that emerged from this relatively homogenous sample of six women that were recruited for this study.  Therefore, findings should be viewed as tentative and definitive claims cannot be made beyond this sample, even to other women in Bengaluru in choice marriages.  However, the research methodology used in this study, IPA, recommends a homogenous sample (Smith et al., 2009).  Sample homogeneity is considered a strength in IPA because it allows researchers to be more confident about the shared themes across individual experiences as associated with the particular phenomena itself rather than other attributes such as socio-economic status (Smith et al., 2009).  Most pertinently, this study‘s sample was homogenous in that the Indian women were drawn from Bengaluru and, without the intention of the researchers, were from the Hindu community and university-educated, with a minimum of a Bachelor‘s degree.  Therefore, a reasonable case can be made for some   115 transferable value of the results to researchers studying the experiences of young women in Bengaluru or south India, particularly with respect to choice marriage practices.   The homogeneity of the Indian women participating in this research may have impacted their caste-endogamous choice marriage experiences.  The experience of close relationships among women in caste-endogamous choice marriages in Bengaluru may not reflect the experience of the phenomenon among women throughout much of the rest of India because of the strong Western influences in Bengaluru (Allendorf & Pandian, 2016).  Religious support for the caste system in Hinduism and its sanctions on marriage (i.e., caste-endogamy) suggest that caste-endogamy may be an important influence on the experiences among Hindu women with their close relationships than their Christian and Muslim counterparts (Dhar, 2013; Singh, 2010).  The participants in this study were also from the three highest Hindu caste groups in India – Brahmin, Kshatriya, and Vaishya – and had relatively high incomes, limiting the findings to a specific privileged group.  The privilege afforded by being of a higher caste and higher annual income may explain the overall positive experiences these women had with their important others.  Individuals from lower castes and with lower incomes may have had different experiences.  Considering the literature that points to individuals with higher education being more likely to have increased choice in their marital partner suggests that relational consequences for women engaged in caste-endogamous choice marriages who are not university-educated might be quite different (Banerji, 2008).  In addition, specifying heterosexual Indian women leaves out the experience of and understanding of relationships among caste-endogamous marriages for males.  The homogeneity of this study‘s sample neglects other members of the Indian population who may also have experiences with caste-endogamous choice marriages.    116 Although the sample was homogeneous on certain variables, there were some notable differences between participants which limit this study in a different way.  For example, participant ages, caste, life stage, experiences in a prior relationship, and length of current relationship and marriage were not uniform.  It is highly possible that Indian women‘s experiences with their close relationships after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage may significantly differ among these variables.  The lack of greater homogeneity in the sample of participants deviated from the guidelines for IPA research to ensure that participants would be recruited for this study.  Flexibility about the degree of homogeneity in the current study was needed, especially considering that choice marriages continue to be a sensitive topic and may still be considered highly deviant (Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).  The lack of homogeneity and the small sample size in this study prevents defensible direct comparisons on these variables.  Regardless, the fact that these six Indian women spoke similarly about their experiences, as indicated by the common themes, suggests wider applicability, for future research. Another important limitation of this sample is that the women were self-selected, the sample was not random.  Participants volunteered to be interviewed without incentives for their participation.  It follows that these participants were motivated and felt comfortable enough with their relationships with their close others and to be willing to discuss and reflect on their experiences with the researcher.  The experiences of Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages who were reluctant to take part in this study may have had different (i.e., negative) experiences with their close relationships.  It is also possible that these women who elected not to participate were afraid to due to fear of violence or harassment, or were afraid of the emotional impact it would have on them (Raval et al., 2010; Rocca et al., 2009).     117 A further limitation of this study is that retrospective reports may be associated with memory decay or recall bias and likely to be less complete or incorrect (Henry, Moffitt, Caspi, Langley, & Silva, 1994).  One of the women, Aditi, was at a different life stage than the other five women in the study.  As such, the important others she spoke about had passed-away and she had to recall what her experiences with them were like.  When coupled with the facts that no casual claims in this study can be made due to the research design and that no objective verification was made as to whether events or behaviours cited by the participants actually occurred, it cannot be definitely concluded that the behaviours or events noted by the participants verifiably resulted in the connection, support, responsibility, validation or respect thought by the participants.  There is ample research that individuals‘ experiences of cause-and-effect relationships do not always translate into cause-and-effect relationships as demonstrable through controlled experimental research designed to identify cause-and-effect relationships (e.g., Lyons, Ghetti, & Cornoldi, 2010).  However, researchers suggest that retrospective reports are not necessarily incomplete or inaccurate and can be well suited for studies of interpersonal interaction – particularly in trying to capture an individual‘s phenomenological experience and subjective understandings (Metts, Sprecher, & Cupach, 1991).  To support this latter point, in this study, analysis of Aditi‘s experiences were quite consistent with the themes that emerged from the other participants‘ accounts as well as with previous research (e.g., Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  Moreover, to fulfill the purpose of the research the researcher had to rely on interviews, a method that has inherent limitations.  Interviews rely on self-report data, researchers are therefore unable to conclusively affirm that participants are supplying honest or accurate responses due to social desirability bias (Cozby, 2009).  The Indian women may have wanted to   118 shed a positive light on their experiences with their relationships with important others after engaging in a caste-endogamous choice marriage, perhaps related to the theme of saving face.  This study also did not assess marital relationship status (i.e., marital satisfaction) of the sample.  Participants‘ experiences in their close relationships and assuming it was high, may have been impacted by their marital satisfaction and may have accounted for the largely positive responses.  The lack of repeated dialogue with participants potentially limited the breadth and depth of participants‘ subjective accounts of their lived experience with the phenomenon.  Further, the researcher being a foreigner may have prevented some participants from opening up about their experience as much as they may have to a native researcher.  For example, participants may have perceived a researcher who spoke participants‘ primary language to be similar to them and may have developed a more trusting relationship.  The research interviews were conducted in English with participants who are reasonably fluent English speakers which may have limited participants‘ ability to fully express themselves preventing additional richer information being obtained if the interview was conducted fully in participants‘ native language (Bedi & Rogers, 2016).  Further, this inclusion criterion may have excluded those who did not speak English and may have had different experiences with their close relationships.  To address these limitations, the researcher tried to develop a collaborative relationship with the participants as the experts without researcher judgments or assumptions to ensure participants felt comfortable sharing both positive and negative aspects of their experience.   Interviews occurred via videoconferencing software and also had some limitations.  A challenge that occurred when using videoconferencing software was the sound quality and internet speed (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014; Seitz, 2016; Sullivan, 2012).  The researcher addressed these technical problems by asking the participant for clarification and calling the   119 participant back (Janghorban et al., 2014; Seitz, 2016).  Another concern was that some participants may be excluded (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014).  Videoconferencing required participants to have technological competence, the correct software program(s), and to have a strong internet connection for the duration of the discussion to participate in the study (Deakin & Wakefield, 2014).  The literature review above suggests that individuals who engage in choice marriages tend to be young (Allendorf, 2013; Allendorf & Pandian, 2016; Banerji, 2008; Desai & Andrist, 2010; Ghimire et al., 2006; Malhotra, 1991).  Young adults in India have access to and regularly use the internet on their computers or smartphones (Lal, Malhotra, Ahuja, & Ingle, 2006; Unnikrishnan et al., 2008; Watkins, Kitner, & Mehta, 2012).  As such, the target population for this study was likely to have the videoconferencing software and technological competence to participate in the current study.  None of the Indian women who contacted the primary researcher were turned away for their lack of technological competence, not having the correct software, or slow internet connection. The researcher themselves and their subjectivity are important limitations to consider when assessing this study and its findings.  Due to the double-hermeneutic process, the data has the potential to be interpreted differently by other researchers, with researchers‘ own subjectivities emerging throughout the research process (Smith et al., 2009).  This study implemented a triangulation process (i.e., research auditors and expert review) and has yielded similar findings as previous research which suggests that research bias may not have overly influenced the study‘s findings.  Finally, another limitation of this study is the categorical nature in which this study was set up and discussed, especially in relation to the notion of collectivism and individualism.  Collectivism and individualism are nuanced, complex, and ambiguous concepts and individuals   120 cannot be categorized to be distinctly collectivistic or individualistic.  For example, the women in this study may have engaged in a more individualistic action by engaging in a choice marriage but also demonstrated their collectivistic nature by engaging in behaviors associated with filial piety.  The dichotomy of individualism and collectivism throughout this paper may be attributed to how these concepts have been conceptualized and researched in the literature, as clear and distinct constructs.  This research tried to highlight the nuance present in these concepts by framing how contemporary marriages in India incorporate both collectivistic and individualistic aspects such as, parental input and partner choice, respectively.  Further, by explicitly identifying and acknowledging the dichotomous nature of the broader research this current study is situated in, I hope to ensure readers are made aware that collectivism and individualism are not distinct but fall on a continuum and are nuanced constructs.  5.4 Recommendations for Future Research Future research can address the sample and methodological limitations of the current study.  Subsequent studies may extend the work done by this study by purposively selecting participants on variables that they differed on in this study (e.g., caste) in addition to the inclusion criteria for this study to increase the homogeneity of the sample.  Increased homogeneity and purposeful variance of characteristics (e.g., length of marriage or relationship, caste, annual income, education, employment) may provide more nuanced findings about how Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages‘ experiences in their close relationships vary in relation to particular variables.  Exploring differences based on length of marriage or relationship is particularly important because dynamics of the marital relationship may change at different points during marriage (e.g., employment, children, etc.) which may in turn impact women‘s experiences in their close relationships.  Additionally, future research should recruit   121 homogenous samples varying on certain variables, to determine the impact of that variable on participants‘ experiences.  Variables of interest may be gender, age, caste affiliation, education level, social class (as measured by income), etc.  Only after multiple studies with different homogenous samples, can a comparison of findings across the studies provide a sound account of the broader patterns of experiences and understandings in relation to a particular phenomenon that are grounded in participants‘ idiographic experiences (Langdridge, 2007; Smith et al., 2009).  Therefore, a replication of this study with a larger sample of participants is also called for.  Ideally, future researchers would ensure to have multiple conversations with participants, in-person, using participants‘ primary language, and assess participants‘ marital satisfaction.  These data collection strategies will only serve to increase participants‘ rapport with the researcher, ensure greater veracity of their experiences, and provide space for greater breadth and depth of exploration of participants‘ subjective accounts of their lived experience with the phenomenon.  Addressing the limitations of the current study in future research serves to develop this field of research and allows for comparisons to be made with the results of the current study and support resonance.  Future research can follow in a variety of creative directions.  Future research may also focus on more perspectives (e.g., husbands, natal family, in-laws) to develop a detailed and multifaceted account of the experience of and understanding of relationships among caste-endogamous choice marriage females in India, or change the specific subject of the research from wives to husbands, the couple, parents, in-laws, etc.  This study focused on proximal processes, the microsystem and meso-time of Bronfenbrenner‘s PPCT model as a framework to investigate relationships.  Future studies can investigate participants‘ experiences in relation to other systems in Bronfenbrenner‘s PPCT model such as the mesosytem, exosystem,   122 macrosystem and different aspects of time such as micro-time and macro-time (also known as the chronosystem).  This study focused on one aspect of choice marriages in India, relationships.  As the studies by Dhar (2013) and Bedi and Rogers (2016) demonstrate, the phenomenon of choice marriage is a wide-ranging and complex experience, research can expand the specific aspect of choice marriage investigated.  Research can go beyond qualitative inquiry into more quantitative research as this field continues to develop.  Future quantitative studies could be designed to poll Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages to determine the pervasiveness of these experiences in India.  This research topic is a novel area with many possible areas of growth and development.  5.5 Conclusion The purpose of the present study was to provide a detailed examination of the experiences and meanings of Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages in their close relationships.  Despite the above limitations, the present study represents an initial exploration of the research topic and findings can provide a valuable foundation upon which other researchers can build.  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I received your contact information from my research supervisor, Dr. Robinder (Rob) Bedi. I am working with Dr. Bedi on a qualitative research study with the goal of understanding the experiences in and understanding of relationships among women in love marriages with a partner of the same caste, in India titled: Experiences in and Understanding of Relationships among Indian Females in Choice Marriages. This study is part of my thesis requirement for completing a Master of Arts (M.A.) in UBC‘s Counselling Psychology program. I am contacting you to request your assistance in recruiting participants for my research project.   I am seeking participants who are:  Female  Born in and living in India (preferably now living in the Bengaluru/Bangalore area)  In a love marriage: the individuals chose their partner rather than having an arranged marriage  Married to someone in the same caste as themselves  Able to speak conversational English  Able to access a computer, mobile phone, or landline  Participants who choose to participate will complete a demographics questionnaire and then engage in a semi-structured interview about their personal, lived experience of being in a love marriage with someone of the same caste, with a focus on their relationships. The interview is expected to take up to two hours. The interview will be over tele- or videoconferencing software (e.g., Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, IMO) or telephone and will be audio and/or video-recorded. Approximately four weeks following the interview, participants will be provided a summary of the researchers‘ analysis of their interview, at which time they will have an opportunity to comment, and request changes or additions within two weeks of the interview summary being sent to them.   Attached to this e-mail, I have attached a recruitment flyer outlining the details of the study and the informed consent form for more details about the study. I am wondering if it would be possible for you to pass on the information about this study to individuals you know who fit the research criteria and may be interested in participating in the study. I would also welcome it if you would pass this information on to your contacts to spread the word about this research study and posting the attached recruitment flyer at your institution to assist in recruiting participants for this important study.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at 001-778-999-3154 or e-mail me at Kesha.Pradhan@alumni.ubc.ca or Bedi.ResearchLab@ubc.ca. Thank you for your time and consideration.  Sincerely, Kesha Pradhan   140 Appendix B  : Flyer/Advertisement    141            142 Appendix C  : Informed Consent The following consent form will be sent to the participant via e-mail to obtain their written consent. For participants who are unable to provide written consent, this informed consent will be verbally read by the researcher with the participant to obtain oral consent. A copy of the following informed consent will also be sent to the participant via e-mail for their records.  Principal Investigator:  Dr. Robinder (Rob) Bedi, Ph. D., Professor, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, and Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia Phone: 001-604-822-4185          E-mail: Robinder.Bedi@ubc.ca Co-Investigator:  Kesha Pradhan, B.A., Graduate Student, Department of Educational & Counselling Psychology, and Special Education, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia Phone: 001-778-999-3154          E-mail: Kesha.Pradhan@alumni.ubc.ca  This research is part of Kesha Pradhan’s thesis requirement for completing a Master of Arts (M.A.) in University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Counselling Psychology program.   Introduction and Purpose  The purpose of this study is to understand the experiences in and understanding of relationships for females in same caste choice marriages in India. You have been invited to participate in this study because you are a woman in India in a choice marriage with someone of the same caste. The results of this study will inform counsellors in India and internationally about your experiences to provide a starting point for counsellors working with Indian women in choice marriages.   Study Procedures  If you accept the invitation to participate in this study, you will be asked some questions about your background (e.g., age, where you were born) and then you will take part in an interview with the researcher. You will be asked questions about your experience in your relationships after being in a same caste choice marriage. The researcher may ask you to provide more details about certain aspects of your experience, and you get to choose what to share. If you do not feel comfortable answering a question, you can refuse to answer without any penalty. This interview may take up to two hours. The interview will happen over tele- or videoconferencing software (e.g., Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, IMO) or telephone and it will be audio and/or video-recorded. Four weeks after the interview you will be contacted by e-mail and the researcher will provide you with a summary of your interview. At this time you will be able to share your thoughts, add more detail, or ask for changes to be made within two weeks of the interview summary being sent to you.   Study Results The interviews will be analyzed and written up for the Co-Investigator‘s M.A. thesis. Upon completion, the findings of this research will be published in a graduate thesis, which is a public document that can be viewed through the UBC library.The findings may also be shared at conferences and may be published in academic journals. Your name will not be shared in the thesis, nor in any presentation or publication.    143 Potential Risks  The risks for participating in this study are small. Please be aware of the following potential risks: (1) new understandings about your relationships; (2) remembering difficult or unpleasant experiences during the interview process. You may find that when you share your story you may experience strong emotions; these are expected to be mild and brief. You can tell the researcher if you do not want to answer a question, take breaks, or if you want to end the interview at any time. If you would like more help with anything that comes up during the interview, the researcher will provide you with a list of counselling referrals.   Potential Benefits Sharing your experiences can help reduce stress. You will also be able to contribute to a greater understanding of the experience in and understanding of relationships in same caste choice marriages in India for researchers and therapists.   Confidentiality Your confidentiality is a priority. Information that discloses your identity will not be released without your consent unless required by law. Interviews will be audio-recorded and transcribed. Audio recordings, consent forms, and notes referring to your data will be secured in a locked filing cabinet in the Principal Investigator‘s research lab at The University of British Columbia (UBC). Electronic files related to your data will be encrypted and password protected. Participants will be referred to in research materials, transcriptions, and in the final report by pseudonyms. UBC‘s policy is to destroy all research data five years after the completion of the study: paper materials will be shredded, and electronic files will be erased. The only people with access to the data will be Dr. Robinder Bedi (Principal Investigator), Kesha Pradhan (Co-Investigator), and the research team.   Researchers will do everything possible to maintain your confidentiality. Due to the use of videoconferencing and telephone interviews, there is a possibility that companies providing the technologies are tracking, recording, and storing conversations. For more information about the security policies of the videoconferencing software company we will be using, please ask the researcher.   Contact for Information about the Study  This study is being conducted by Kesha Pradhan, the Co-Investigator, with Dr. Robinder (Rob) Bedi, as the Principal Investigator for the study. If at any point during the study you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call either the Co-Investigator or Principal Investigator (contact information above). You can also contact the researchers at Bedi.ResearchLab@ubc.ca.  Contact for Concerns about the Rights of Research Subjects  If you have any concerns or complaints about your rights as a research participant and/or your experiences while participating in this study, you may also contact the Research Participant Complaint Line in the UBC Office of Research Ethics at 001-604-822-8598 or if long distance e-mail RSIL@ors.ubc.ca or call toll free 001-877-822-8598.      144 Consent  Your participation in this study is entirely voluntary. You have the right to refuse to participate in this study. If you decide to take part in the study, you can choose not to answer certain questions, or withdraw from the study at any time without negative consequences.   Your verbal consent indicates that you have read, understand, and agree to this information and consent to participate in this study. Your verbal consent also indicates that you agree to video- and/or audio-recording of our interview.    Verbal Consent Obtained        Yes       No  Date     Participant  Researcher                  145 The following are the relevant security policies for the videoconferencing software the researcher anticipates using. Participants will be provided with the appropriate security policy information based on the videoconferencing software they choose to use. For additional videoconferencing software that is not anticipated, the security policies will be found and provided to participants.  Skype Security All Skype-to-Skype voice, video, file transfers and instant messages are encrypted. This protects you from potential eavesdropping by malicious users. If you make a call from Skype to mobile and landline phones, the part of your call that takes place over the PSTN (the ordinary phone network) is not encrypted.  For example, in the case of group calls involving two users on Skype-to-Skype and one user on PSTN, then the PSTN part is not encrypted, but the Skype-to-Skype portion is. For instant messages, we use TLS (transport-level security) to encrypt your messages between your Skype client and the chat service in our cloud, or AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) when sent directly between two Skype clients. Most messages are sent both ways, but in the future it will only be sent via our cloud to provide the optimal user experience. Voice messages are encrypted when they're delivered to you. However, after you have listened to a voice message, it is transferred from our servers to your local machine, where it is stored as an unencrypted file.  Skype uses the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard*), also known as Rijndael, which is used by the US Government to protect sensitive information, and Skype has for some time always used the strong 256-bit encryption. User public keys are certified by the Skype server at login using 1536 or 2048-bit RSA certificates.  *Skype is not responsible for the content of external sites. To learn more about encryption, please visit our Security Center. Source: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA31/does-skype-use-encryption   Google Hangouts Security When you message or talk with someone on Hangouts, your information is secured, including:  Hangouts conversations and video calls in all devices.  Meetings through Chromebox for Meetings.  Audio and video  To improve audio and video quality, Hangouts calls use a direct peer-to-peer connection when possible, instead of routing through a server.  When you dial a phone number from a Hangout, audio is secured until it reaches the carrier network. Telephone carriers are responsible for the audio within carrier networks. Source: https://support.google.com/hangouts/answer/6191867?hl=en&authuser=0&visit_id=1-636402711003637285-2417526795&rd=1   WhatsApp Security  Privacy and Security is in our DNA From day one, we built WhatsApp to help you stay in touch with friends, share vital information   146 during natural disasters, reconnect with separated families, or seek a better life. Some of your most personal moments are shared with WhatsApp, which is why we built end-to-end encryption into the latest versions of our app. When end-to-end encrypted, your messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents, and calls are secured from falling into the wrong hands.  Security by Default WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption is available when you and the people you message use the latest versions of our app. Many messaging apps only encrypt messages between you and them, but WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you're communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. This is because your messages are secured with a lock, and only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them. For added protection, every message you send has its own unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically: no need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages.  Speak Freely WhatsApp Calling lets you talk to your friends and family, even if they're in another country. Just like your messages, WhatsApp calls are end-to-end encrypted so WhatsApp and third parties can't listen to them.  Messages that Stay with You Your messages should be in your hands. That's why WhatsApp doesn't store your messages on our servers once we deliver them, and end-to-end encryption means that WhatsApp and third parties can't read them anyway.  See for Yourself WhatsApp lets you check whether the calls you make and messages you send are end-to-end encrypted. Simply look for the indicator in contact info or group info.  Get the Details Read an in-depth technical explanation of WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption, developed in collaboration with Open Whisper Systems. Source: https://www.whatsapp.com/security/   Viber Security This document provides a technical overview of the security protocol implemented by Viber. Starting with Viber 6.0, all of Viber‘s core features are secured with end-to-end encryption: calls, one-on-one messages, group messages, media sharing and secondary devices.  This means that the encryption keys are stored only on the clients themselves and no one, not even Viber itself, has access to them.  Viber‘s protocol uses the same concepts of the ―double ratchet‖ protocol used in Open Whisper Systems Signal application, however, Viber‘s implementation was developed from scratch and does not share Signal‘s source code. Source: https://www.viber.com/security-overview/     147 Facebook Messenger Security  Secret Conversations With secret conversations, you can send:  Messages  Pictures  Stickers  Videos Secret conversations don't support:  Group messages  Gifs  Voice or video calling  Payments A secret conversation in Messenger is encrypted end-to-end, which means the messages are intended just for you and the other person—not anyone else, including us. Keep in mind that the person you're messaging could choose to share the conversation with others (ex: a screenshot). Learn how to start a secret conversation. Source: https://www.facebook.com/help/messenger-app/1084673321594605/?helpref=hc_fnav  IMO Security Your Chat History What is it?  We will collect, save and store all information contained in your imo chat history. You can permanently delete your imo chat history at anytime. How do we use it?  To allow you to access and search your chat history for your own purposes.  If you are a Business User or if you communicate with a Business User, we may, review, scan, or analyze any communications via the Services involving a Business User for fraud prevention, risk assessment, and customer support purposes. We will not review, scan, or analyze your communications for sending third party marketing messages to you. We will also not sell these reviews or analyses of communications to third parties. We will also use automated methods to carry out these reviews or analyses where reasonably possible. However, from time to time we may have to manually review some communications.  To collect aggregated data from your chat history. We use the data to build language models which help us improve the Service. We will only collect this data on an aggregated basis, and in a manner which does not reveal any personally identifiable information about any individual user. We will use this data to help us understand our users‘ interests, analyze trends, and customize the user experience.           148 Appendix D  : Demographic Questionnaire In order for us to learn about the background of women participating in this research, we would be grateful if you could answer these questions. All information will remain confidential.   1. Pseudonym (fake name you would like to be referred by):                                                       a 2. Name:                                                                                                                                         a 3. Age:                                                                                                                                            a 4. Husband‘s age:                                                                                                                           a 5. Sex:                                                                                                                                             a 6. Husband‘s sex:                                                                                                                           a 7. City and state you were born:                                                                                                     a Current location?                                                                                                                        a How long have you lived here?:                                                                                                 a 8. City and state husband was born:                                                                                               a Current location?:                                                                                                                       a How long has your husband lived here?:                                                                                   a 9. Ethnicity:                                                                                                                                    a 10. Caste:                                                                                                                                          a 11. Husband‘s caste:                                                                                                                         a 12. Religious affiliation, if any:                                                                                                       a 13. Husband‘s religious affiliation, if any:                                                                                       a 14. Primary language:                                                                                                                      a 15. Secondary language:                                                                                                                  a 16. Tertiary language:                                                                                                                      a 17. Husband‘s primary language:                                                                                                    a 18. Husband‘s secondary language:                                                                                                 a 19. Husband‘s tertiary language:                                                                                                      s 20. Highest level of education completed:                                                                                       a 21. Husband‘s highest level of education completed:                                                                      a 22. Occupation:                                                                                                                                a 23. Husband‘s occupation:                                                                                                             a 24. Approximate annual income:                                                                                                     a 25. Husband‘s approximate annual income:                                                                                    a 26. Is this your first serious relationship or marriage?:                                                                    a If no, please explain (e.g., divorce/separation from previous partner, death of partner/spouse, ending of relationship):                                                                                                              a                                                                                                                                                     a 27. Length of current relationship:                                                                                                   a 28. Do you or your husband have children:                                                                                     a If yes, please provide their ages, whether they live with you, and their relationship to you and your current partner/spouse:                                                                                                       a                                                                                                                                                     s                                                                                                                                                     s                                                                                                                                                     s                                                                                                                                                     s   149 Appendix E  : Interview Schedule This interview schedule is a set of guidelines and is not a checklist. It serves as a guide to facilitate the interview to get a rich and in-depth understanding of the experiences in and understandings of relationships among Indian females in endogamous choice marriages.   Thank you for agreeing to participate in this research study today. As I mentioned, this study is about your experiences and understandings of your relationships with close others after having engaged in a choice marriage to answer the research question, ―What is the meaning of the lived experience of Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages in their close relationships?‖ The questions I ask you today will attempt to facilitate a conversation around that topic.   1. Can you tell me about the story of your marriage? 1.1. Why did you have a choice marriage over an arranged one?  1.2. Why did you marry someone of the same caste as you instead of a different one? 1.3. What does choice marriage mean to you?  2. As a start, what are the most important relationships that impact your marriage?  (The researcher will note the individuals listed and ask sub-questions for each individual identified to learn about participant’s experience in and understanding of each relationship.) 2.1. Can you describe to me what your current relationship with (individual) is like? Thinking of your interactions you‘ve had with the individual over the last year or so, what is your typical experience with the (individual) like?  2.1.1. What does your typical week look like in terms of your interactions with the (individual)/What do you usually do with them? 2.1.2. How do you feel with (individual)? 2.1.3. What do you think with (individual)? 2.2. You‘ve described your experience with the (individual) such as (the researcher will name some examples). Now, would you say these are all the things that describe your experience with the (individual)? Can you think of any other things that you‘d like to add to describe your relationship with (individual)? 2.3. What was your relationship with (individual) like before you were married? Do you notice any similarities or differences in your relationship with (individual) before you were married to now? How has this relationship changed, if at all? 2.4. Can you describe what, if any, of your positive experiences with the (individual) now? 2.5. On the flip side, can you describe what, if any, of your negative experiences with the (individual) now? 2.6. How do you think your relationship with (individual) would be different if you had an arranged marriage or you married someone of a different caste? 2.7. What role, if any, does your relationship with (individual) affect your marriage?  What role if any, does your marriage affect your relationship with (individual)?  3. Are there any other things I should know about your experiences of any of these relationships after engaging in a choice marriage that we haven‘t talked about that you think would be important for me to know to fully understand your experience?    150 Sample Probes and Follow-Ups  Can you tell me more about that? Could you say more about that?  When did that happen? Who else was involved? Where did it happen?    What do you mean by ―(word/experience)‖?  What did that mean to you?                                            151 Appendix F  : Referral List If additional support is required following the interview, the following community resources can be contacted. You can contact these helplines from anywhere in. The ones with “*” are based specifically in Bengaluru.   AASRA (http://www.aasra.info/) A 24-hour nationwide voluntary, professional and confidential crisis intervention service center. 022-27546669  iCall A psychosocial helpline, which offers free counselling services by telephone and email to individuals in psychosocial distress.  22-25563291 icall@tiss.edu  *Sahai Helpline  A helpline providing emotional support and crisis intervention.  080-25497777  Samaritans Mumbai (http://samaritansmumbai.com/) A helpline providing emotional support for those who are stressed, distressed, depressed, or suicidal. 022-64643267, 022-65653267, 022-65653247 samaritans.helpline@gmail.com  Sneha India (http://www.snehaindia.org)  A 24-hour service which offers emotional support for individuals in crisis. 044-24640050 help@snehaindia.org  *Tara Women’s Centre (http://ashraya.net/subpages/Womens.html) This organization provides shelter and counselling to women who are physically and mentally abused or abandoned.  080-25251929 ashchildedu@gmail.com  *Vanitha Sahayavani (Women’s Helpline) (http://bcpparihar.org/vanitha-sahayavani/)  A helpline that is part of the Parihar organization, initiated by Bangalore police, which helps women having marital problems and property disputes. 080-22943225, 080-22943224, Namma 100 (toll free) pariharfcc.vsv@gmail.com       152 Appendix G  : Transcription Instructions I. Document Conventions and Formatting for Transcripts Please follow the following conventions/formatting in creating transcripts: 1. Use Microsoft Word for all transcripts. 2. Name the file based on the session as follows: [ParticipantNumber]Transcript-Year-Month-Date.docx (e.g., 1701Transcript-2017-06-28.docx). Each new day you work on a transcript file, save it with the new date to ensure there is a backup in case anything happens.  3. Use Times New Roman 10-point face-font, single spaced. 4. Format for one-inch (2.54 cm.) on top, bottom, right, and left margins. 5. Name the title of the transcript at the top of the first page as follows: [ParticipantNumber] Transcript (e.g., 1701 Transcript). The second line of the title should be: Experiences in and Understandings of Relationships Among Indian Females in Choice Marriages 6. Use View > Header and Footer on the MS Word toolbar to put the page number on the top right of each page of the document. 7. Use View > Header and Footer on the MS Word toolbar to put the title on the bottom right of each page of the document. 8. Begin all text at the left-hand margin (no indents). 9. Left-justify the entire document. 10. Indicate utterances made by the researcher with ―R1:‖. 11. Indicate utterances made by the participants with ―P1:‖. II. Content 1. Begin transcribing the audio recording after the interviewer has introduced the first question to the participant. There is no need to transcribe introductions or preamble, etc. 2. At the beginning of each page of the transcript, place the start time of the first utterance on the page in brackets like this example: (02:34). Then begin transcribing on the next line. 3. Audio recordings shall be transcribed verbatim (i.e., recorded word for word, exactly as said), including any nonverbal or background sounds (e.g., laughter, sighs, coughs, claps, snaps fingers, pen clicking) placed in parentheses. For example: (short sharp laugh); (group laughter).  4. If interviewers or interviewees mispronounce words, these words shall be transcribed as the individual said them. The transcript shall not be ―cleaned up‖ by removing foul language, slang, grammatical errors, or misuse of words or concepts.  5. If an incorrect or unexpected pronunciation results in difficulties with comprehension of the text, the correct word shall be typed in square brackets. A forward slash shall be placed immediately behind the open square bracket and another in front of the closed square bracket. (e.g., I thought that was pretty pacific [/specific/], but they disagreed.) 6. The spelling of key words, blended or compound words, common phrases, and identifiers shall be standardized across all individual and focus group transcripts. Enunciated reductions (e.g., betcha, cuz, ‘em, gimme, gotta, hafta, kinda, lotta, oughta, sorta, wanna, coulda, could‘ve, couldn‘t, coudn‘ve, couldna, woulda, would‘ve, wouldn‘t, wouldn‘ve, wouldna, shoulda, should‘ve, shouldn‘t, shouldn‘ve, shouldna) plus standard contractions of is, am, are, had, have, would, and not shall be used.   153 7. Filler words such as hm, huh, mm, mhm, uh huh, um, mkay, yeah, yuhuh, nah huh, ugh, whoa, uh oh, ah, and ahah shall be transcribed. 8. Word or phrase repetitions shall be transcribed. If a word is cut off or truncated, a hyphen shall be inserted at the end of the last letter or audible sound (e.g., he wen- he went and did what I told him he shouldn‘ve). 9. The transcriber shall identify portions of the audiotape that are inaudible or difficult to decipher. If a relatively small segment of the tape (a word or short sentence) is partially unintelligible, the transcriber shall type the phrase ―inaudible segment.‖ This information shall appear in square brackets. (e.g., The process of identifying missing words in an audiotaped interview of poor quality is [inaudible segment].) 10. If a lengthy segment of the tape is inaudible, unintelligible, or is ―dead air‖ where no one is speaking, the transcriber shall record this information in square brackets. In addition, the transcriber shall provide a time estimate for information that could not be transcribed. (e.g., [Inaudible: 2 minutes of interview missing]) 11. If individuals are speaking at the same time (i.e., overlapping speech) and it is not possible to distinguish what each person is saying, the transcriber shall place the phrase ―cross talk‖ in square brackets immediately after the last identifiable speaker‘s text and pick up with the next audible speaker. (e.g., Turn taking may not always occur. People may simultaneously contribute to the conversation; hence, making it difficult to differentiate between one person‘s statement [cross talk]. This results in loss of some information.) 12. If an individual pauses briefly between statements or trails off at the end of a statement, the transcriber shall use three periods. A brief pause is defined as a two- to five- second break in speech. (e.g., Sometimes, a participant briefly loses...a train of thought or... pauses after making a poignant remark. Other times, they end their statements with a clause such as but then…) 13. If a substantial speech delay occurs at either beginning or the continuing a statement occurs (more than two or three seconds), the transcriber shall use ―long pause‖ in parentheses. (e.g., Sometimes the individual may require additional time to construct a response. (Long pause) other times, he or she is waiting for additional instructions or probes.) 14. If the transcriber is unsure of the accuracy of a statement made by a speaker, this statement shall be placed inside parentheses and a question mark is placed in front of the open parenthesis and behind the close parenthesis. (e.g., I went over to the ?(club on Avalon)? to meet with the street outreach team to talk about joining up for the study.) 15. If an individual uses his or her own name during the discussion, the transcriber shall replace this information with the appropriate interviewee identification label/naming convention (e.g., P1 or P2). 16. If an individual provides others‘ names, locations, organizations, and so on, the transcriber shall provide the names with an acronym and indicate what it is (e.g., SV [mother]).        154 Appendix H  : Research Auditor Training Research auditors attended up to three training meetings with the primary researcher to learn about the proposed research, IPA methodology, and data analysis.  Research auditors were introduced to the current research – such as the research questions, purpose of the research, and research design – and an overview of IPA methodology and data analysis by reading the research proposal and relevant literature.  Next, the research team conducted a mock analysis to familiarize themselves with how to conduct the data analysis process.  The purpose of the mock analysis was to ensure that all research team members have a comprehensive understanding of data analysis and are conducting analyses consistently.  The mock analysis process began with research auditors transcribing mock interviews using the transcription guidelines for the proposed research (Appendix G).  Data analysis was conducted by the primary researcher.  Research auditors then practiced reviewing the primary researcher‘s analyses based on IPA guidelines. Once this was complete, the primary researcher completed a mock cross-case analysis.  Research auditors also reviewed the primary researcher‘s cross-case analysis to ensure that the resulting themes were derived from the single-cases analyses.  The primary researcher answered questions or provided clarification to ensure research auditors have had a comprehensive and consistent understanding of IPA analysis.  The primary researcher was available throughout the process to review research auditors‘ work, provide feedback, answer questions, and provide clarification.   155 Appendix I  : Results Submitted to Expert Reviewers Research Question What is the meaning given to the lived experience of close relationships (e.g., parents, relatives) by Indian women in caste-endogamous choice marriages?  Method I recruited and interviewed six female participants who engaged in a caste-endogamous choice marriage and could speak conversational English.  Individual interviews were conducted via videoconferencing software (Skype and WhatsApp) and analyzed to elicit themes from interview transcripts using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009).  Each participant‘s interview was first analyzed separately. Our subsequent analysis focused on the entire sample, examining how the themes identified in individual interviews fit across this set of six participants.   Participants Six Indian females living in Bangalore who engaged in a choice marriage were interviewed.  Questions from the interview schedule are below:   4. What are the most important relationships (e.g., parents, friends, relatives, co-workers) that have been impacted by your marriage? 4.1. Can you describe to me what your relationship with (individual) was like before you were married (e.g., when you were not in a relationship, when you were in a relationship, when you told them about your relationship, after you told them about your relationship, during the courtship period)? 4.2. What is your current relationship with (individual) like?  4.2.1. Thinking of your interactions you‘ve had with the individual over the last month, what do your interactions typically look like?  4.2.1.1. What do you usually do with them? 4.2.1.2. How do you feel with (individual)? 4.2.1.3. What do you think with (individual)? 4.2.2. What role does your (individual) play in your life? 4.2.3. Can you describe what, if any, of your positive experiences with the (individual) now? 4.2.4. On the flip side, can you describe what, if any, of your negative experiences with the (individual) now? 4.3. How has this relationship changed, if at all? Do you notice any similarities or differences in your relationship with (individual) before you were married to now?    156 4.4. How do you think your relationship with (individual) would be different if you had a choice marriage with someone of a different caste? 4.5. How do you think your relationship with (individual) would be different if you had an arranged marriage? 4.6. What role, if any, does your relationship with (individual) affect your marriage? What role if any, does your marriage affect your relationship with (individual)? 5. You have described your experience with the (individual) as… Are there any other things I should know about your experience with this relationship that we haven‘t talked about that you think would be important for me to know to fully understand your experience with (individual)?  Below are selected demographics for the participants:   Table 1: Participant demographics Label Age (Years) State Born In Length of Residence in Bangalore (Years) Religious Affiliation Caste Education Annual Income (Lakhs) First Relationship Length of Current Relationship (Years) Prt #1 32 Tamil Nadu 5 Hindu Brahmin M.A. 15 Yes 14 Prt #2 31 Andhra Pradesh 10 Hindu Vishya B.Sc. 7 Yes 6.5 Prt #3 29 Bihar 1.5 Hindu Kshatriya M.Ds. N/A* No 5.5 Prt #4 35 West Bengal 10.5 Hindu Kshatriya M.A. 50 No 6.5 Prt #5 59 Mumbai 10 Hindu Kshatriya B.Comm. 24 Yes 38 Prt #6 25 Delhi 1 Hindu Brahmin B.Ed. N/A* No 4  Name Length of Marriage (Years) Most Important Other(s) Identified** Prt #1 7 Father, Mother Prt #2 6 Father Prt #3 3.75 Mother Prt #4 4.5 Uncle, Mother Prt #5 32 Parents Prt #6 1 Father, Mother *N/A = Not applicable.  Participants were currently unemployed at the time of the interview.    157 **Participants were asked to identify the most important relationships they believed were impacted by their choice marriage.  Participants spoke about these relationships in-depth during the research interview.   Cross-Case Analysis In exploring these Indian females‘ experiences in their close relationships with important others after having a choice marriage, six themes arose: (a) Support; (b) Connection; (c) Responsibility for Others; (d) Responsibility for Marriage; (e) Validation; and (f) Respect.  Below a summary of the six themes are presented alongside the prevalence with which each theme appeared among the participants (i.e., the number of participants who presented with the specific theme).  For example, the theme of Support was present in six out of the sample of six participants.   Table 2: Summary of final results Themes Prevalence Support 6 of 6 Connection 6 of 6 Responsibility for Others 6 of 6 Responsibility for Marriage 5 of 6 Validation 4 of 6 Respect 4 of 6  Below are definitions of the final themes:  Themes 1. Support: Degree to which participants seek out and are provided with emotional, tangible, or informational assistance or guidance from their important others.  2. Connection: Degree of the emotional relationship between a participant and an important other, which can motivate or otherwise enable the relationship with important others to continue or not.  3. Responsibility for Others: Degree of participants‘ experiences with caregiving tasks and the caregiver roles with their important others and how they engage with their important others to fulfill them.    4. Responsibility for Marriage: Degree of participants‘ experiences taking on tasks and responsibilities for their caste-endogamous choice marriage and how they engage with their important others to fulfill them.      158 5. Validation: Degree to which participants feel recognized or affirmed of their actions, feelings, and perspectives about tasks associated with their life or choice marriage from important others.  6. Respect: Degree of participants‘ admiration for their important others.   The themes of Validation and Respect were experienced similarly by all the participants for whom these themes were present (4 out of 6). The other four themes (Support, Connection, Responsibility for Others, and Responsibility for Self) were present in most participants‘ accounts but experienced differently across participants.    In the table below, I provide a short description of how participants‘ experiences relate to the particular theme and highlight differences in how the same thematic construct was experienced.   Table 2: Description of how themes are experienced among participants  Theme Description of Experiences 1. Support Participants: Prt #1, Prt #4, Prt #5   These three women seek out and receive tangible or informational support from their important others.   These women are not regularly reliant on their important others and will only contact them for support if absolutely necessary. Important others are generally less concerned for Prt #1, Prt #4, and Prt #5 in comparison to important others for the remaining participants. The women do not seek or receive care from their important others to the same degree as other participants do, but may receive unsolicited support from their important others. The unsolicited support is also limited in that it generally extends to telephone calls or making participants‘ favorite foods when they visit rather than more time-consuming Participants: Prt #2, Prt #3, Prt #6  These three women seek out and receive emotional, tangible, and informational support from their important others.   These women have a greater degree of reliance on their important others than Prt #1, Prt #4, and Prt #5. The womens‘ important others also have a greater degree of care and concern for these participants and continue to take care of participants in a similar manner to when they were children. Important others actively support the women by checking-in on them frequently and offering their help with participants‘ responsibilities, such as child-minding. Important others are understanding of women‘s new roles and responsibilities, and provide support by adapting their behaviors to the participant. Important others are there for the women when needed.    159 support, such as child-minding.  Despite not relying on their important others very often, they are confident that their important others will be there for them when needed.   2. Connection  Participants: Prt #1, Prt #5  These two women experience a decreased frequency or length of interaction after a choice marriage due to their new roles and responsibilities.   Calls and visits between important others and the women continue in order to stay updated on things that are relevant in important others‘ lives. These women have a sense that the quality of their emotional connection with their important others have not changed despite decreased frequency or length of interaction. As such, the women feel secure in their relationship with their important others.  Participants: Prt #2, Prt #3, Prt #4  These three women experience a decreased frequency or length of interaction after a choice marriage due to their new roles and responsibilities.    These changes impact their experience of connection with their important others. Similar to Prt #1 and Prt #5, these women also have conversations and visits with important others to stay updated on things that are relevant to important others‘ lives. However, Prt #2, Prt #3, and Prt #4 actively express a desire for increased connection with their significant others.   Participant: Prt #6  This woman experiences an increase in the frequency of interaction and connection with her important others after her choice marriage.   She has a strong desire for her relationships with her important others to stay the same after her choice marriage as they were before. As such, she takes action to maintain her connection with them similarly to how it was before the choice marriage.  3. Responsibility for Others Participants: Prt #1, Prt #4, Prt #5   In regards to their important others, these three women adopt a large caregiving role and focus on providing emotional or practical care for their important others.  Participants: Prt #2, Prt #3  In regards to their important others, these two women take care of their important others, largely by communicating with them about their health.  Participant: Prt #6  In regards to her important others, this woman feels a responsibility for her important others and experiences care towards them.     160  These women ensure the focus remains on their important others. Important others may also seek out care from these participants.  Unlike Prt #1, Prt #4, and Prt #5, these women have not adopted the role of caregivers for their important others and their important others do not have the expectation that participants care for them. While Prt #2 and Prt #3 state that they are prepared to take care of their important others, they have not had to do so.  However, Prt #6 does not express care for her important others in manner that was more common amongst the other women. For example, explicit emotional support and asking about her important others and their health.  Prt #6‘s did not explicitly mention caregiving behaviors mentioned by other women in the study during the research interview.  The emphasis of her experiences focuses on her important others providing her with care rather than her providing her important others with care, while the other women take more explicit action to express their caring.  4. Responsibility for Marriage Participants: Prt #1, Prt #4   These two women actively take responsibility for their marriage.   These women are active in setting boundaries between themselves and their important others as a way of taking responsibility for their marriage.  Largely, boundary setting is done by not sharing about everything that is happening in their lives and their marriages with their important others. Important others respect the Participants: Prt #2, Prt #3  These two women feel and accept responsibility for their marriage.   For these women, responsibility is one that participants accept as a result of the social/cultural norms. Unlike Prt #1 and Prt #4, these women do not take action to establish their responsibility for their marriage as the former group do.   Participant: Prt #6  While Prt #6 also feels the responsibility for her marriage, she is limited in her ability to do so by the high amount of input that she receives from her a significant other (father).   Despite attempts to assert her independence from her father, she continues to follow his suggestions about her actions in her marriage.   161 boundaries the women have set.   5. Validation Participants: Prt #1, Prt #2, Prt #3, Prt #5  Although it varies in amount, these four women experience some degree of validation from their important others for their caste-endogamous choice marriage and life decisions.  Important others demonstrate their approval for their partners/their choice marriage by providing verbal approval and treating participants‘ partners as family members.  Important others‘ lack of expressed concern about the marriage, their limited input into how the women live their married lives, and the fact that important others include participants into their decision-making suggests to participants that their important others trust them.   6. Respect Participants: Prt #1, Prt #2, Prt #3, Prt #4  These four women all experience a great degree of respect for their important others.  Respect for parents can develop or grow through their important others‘ acceptance of their choice marriage or as a result of important others‘ trust in their life decisions.  Some participants demonstrate their respect by viewing important others as role models and taking their advice seriously.    Quotational Support for Themes In table 3 in Appendix A, I provide excerpts of relevant quotations from the transcripts that best illustrate the thematic findings in order to provide evidence and support for the theme titles, theme definitions, and thematic experiences outlined above.      162 Appendix A  Table 3: Participant quotes substantiating themes and experiences Theme Quotes 1. Support Participants: Prt #1, Prt #4, Prt #5  Prt #1: ―...if there's a need, I have a question and V [partner] and I don't know the answer for it, say it's with respects to a gas or something else because we‘ve just set up our house and we are young, I will pick up the phone and ask my dad, ‗What is it?‘ and ‗How should I do it?‘ right, and if I don't know something to cook and I actually want to cook it, I will call up my mom and ask, ‗How do I cook it?‘‖  Prt #1: [Speaking about the support she would have from her important others if needed]: ―...they'll [parents] always be there if I need validation, or if I go and share information they'd be ready to have it...‖  Prt #1: [Comparing the degree of support participant needs in a caste-endogamous choice marriage to the degree of support she may need in an inter-caste marriage]: ―...if it was an inter-caste thing I would have faced issues every other day which for sure I would have had to go back and tell my parents because I have nobody else to confide in right.‖  Prt #1: [Comparing the degree of support participant needs in a caste-endogamous choice Participants: Prt #2, Prt #3, Prt #6  Prt #2: ―...everything he takes care till now. Looking at my face, looking at my voice in the call. Everything matters for my dad.‖  Prt #2: ―He [father] still take care of me, whatever I have, whatever issues I have...‖  Prt #2: ―He [father] still take the same responsibility when I‘m small, even now he continues with the same. Even I‘m older and older, having two kids, but still he take care of, and takes the same responsibility and same care towards me.‖  Prt #2: ―Everything. Even if I sounds low on a call when I‘m talking to him [father], easily he gets it...‗What is it?‘ He used to ask me everything. So till now he takes care of me very well.‖  Prt #2: ―He thinks still I am a kid...he used to call and ask me, ‗How are you taking care? You,‘ I mean whether, ‗Are you sleeping properly or not?‘ He used to ask me all those.‖  Prt #2: ―Normally when you‘re a kid, your dad used to hold your hand and cross the road right? Even my dad does the same when I crossing the road. He still hold my hand and then say, ‗I‘ll- I‘ll make you cross the road.‘‖   163 marriage to the degree of support she may need in an inter-caste marriage]: ―...then the inter-caste thing would play a huge role...I think my emotional dependence on my parents will be huge...‖  Prt #4: ―...with my uncle if I‘m, if I seek any opinion on my professional side like...I drop him a message saying ‗Ok- Ok I'm facing this problem in the office, what should I do now?‘ So those kind of things seeking, seeking his opinion on that, seeking his guidance, in those scenarios I'd drop him a message...‖  Prt #4: ―...I also know he's [uncle] there in times of crisis...‖  Prt #4: ―...so since I was staying alone she [mother] was always anxious about me...she started calling me every now and then and that's... a practice that I‘ve gotten till now.‖  Prt #5: ―...so if in case I needed some sort of advice, they were there for advice...‖  Prt #5: ―My mother would wait for me, in the evenings, Saturday evenings when I'll be coming, and then she'd cook all my favourite dishes and sweets.‖  Prt #2: ―Yeah in any situation if I‘m, if I have any problem, if I wanna, if I want to talk to about it to anyone, first one I can talk to my husband and the other one is my dad.‖  Prt #2: ―Even my dad calls me, if the baby‘s awake, I‘ll not be able to talk to him. So later on I‘ll call him in the night and talk to him. That‘s it.‖  Prt #3: ―...if I have any problem that I am not able to solve, she's [mother] a good listener...‖  Prt #3: ―There are times she [mother] supported me, there are times she has rejected my thoughts completely, but whatever she does, she clears my mind, ya.‖  Prt #3: ―So if I‘m stuck, if I‘m stuck, and when I‘m in situations like I can't take it anymore, she has that uh thing in her to cool me down and uh she somehow manages to clear things in my mind.‖  Prt #3: ―...I used to leave my baby to my mom when I used to hang out with my friends...‖  Prt #3: ―Oh there was this time when I had viral...He [partner] called my mom and he said, ‗If you are free then would you mind taking care of these two people because they are really sick.‘ She‘s said, ‗I‘m game, I‘ll come.‘ So she came here...‖  Prt #3: ―...my mom was like, ‗Your baby is so docile, just let me take care of her, and you go with him   164 [partner],‘...‘‖  Prt #3: ―...I ask her [mother] silly questions that, ‗How many times a baby should poop in a day?‘‖  Prt #3: ―So I know and she [mother] knows that if I need her, I‘ll call her...‖   Prt #3: ―...she [mother] said, ‗You can come up anytime and you can tell me what you want, if you have any problem, I can help you,‘...‖  Prt #3: ―She [mother] has been supporting like, pillar of support for me for all the times I‘ve had in my life.‖  Prt #3: ―I‘ll be like, ‗It's time for her [daughter] to eat,‘ and she‘ll [mother] hang up, ‗Okay fine, continue with her lunch,‘ or whatever.‖  Prt #3: ―...my mom has, since my marriage, started to give me time and space to build up new relationships.‖  Prt #3: ―She‘s [mother] kinda given me space and time...‖  Prt #3: ―Yeah, yeah. They [parents] understand that to build a relationship you need to give it time, you need to nurture it with time. And when you don‘t nurture it with time, it won't happen...‖  Prt #6: ―‗How should I cook this? How should I cook that?‘ so I still ask that for something...‖  Prt #6: ―...my mom was concerned that okay, ‗You won't   165 eat, she won't eat anything, she‘ll just keep on studying, she won't take care of herself,‘ so she used to call, she used to call me like thrice in a day, ‗Okay, have you eaten something? Have you eaten something?‘ It was a bit little bit irritating sometimes.‖  Prt #6: ―...she [mother] gets concerned that I don‘t eat, I don‘t cook, or I don‘t eat on time so she makes sure that she asks everytime that I have eaten something or not. That is her main question nowadays.  Prt #6: ―...my parents were concerned...how will I live alone there...‖  Prt #6: [Describing the first time she lived alone in her new home]: ―...I immediately called my parents and I was like- I was all crying that, ‗I don‘t want to live here, please take me, please take me back I want to come back home, I can‘t live here.‘ So my parents got really concerned and after that, from that incident, they were, they used to keep checking on me, that, ‗Are you okay? Is he keeping you happy? Are you in any kind of physical trouble? Does- is he forcing you for anything you know in your sexual life or anything?‘...‗Are you happy? Is he keeping you happy? Are you okay?‘‖  Prt #6: ―...now she‘s [mother] really concerned about me, both of them [parents] actually, they used to keep asking me, ‗Are you happy? Are you facing any problem? If you‘re facing any problem, just let me know we‘ll come,‘ and all that. So they were really concerned about me after marriage...‖    166 Prt #6: ―Yeah both of them, like both of them, actually my father is more concerned about me.‖  Prt #6: ―...she [mother] was like cooking and giving me things and I was very happy.‖  Prt #6: ―...so there‘s one habit that he [father] still does it, whenever we walk on the road, he will always shift me to the other side, like the safer side, not where the traffic is moving and he would come to the other side, my father does that always.‖  Prt #6: ―...if I face some problem I know my parents will there always for me. They told me that, that, ‗If you have any problems, just don‘t think that we are not there for you, we will always be with you,‘ so that way so I am like relieved that okay I shouldn‘t worry too much, my parents are there, that‘s enough for me.‖  Prt #6: ―I think it is very important for me that my parents should check on me because who else would do that?...I think it's just parents, you‘re left with parents, they are the only ones that will really, really genuinely care about you.‖  Prt #6: [Reference to individuals who will care for the participant]: ―Yeah, I mean who is- who else is there? Like no-  nobody gives a fuck, nobody gives a fuck, they [parents] are the only ones.‖  Prt #6: ―...in India there is this concept that, if you are in a love marriage, if you choose your partner on your own, most of the parents don‘t, there are many parents still in   167 India that don‘t accept love marriages and if you do that, and if you end up getting married to the guy you love, they just uh tell you that, ‗We won‘t take any responsibility once you get married since you chose your partner on your own, we won‘t support you, you can‘t come back home if you have any problem, you have to face on your own.‘...I didn‘t face any problem, I didn't face any problem which people usually face in India when they chose their partners, I didn‘t face any problem.‖  Prt #6: ―My mom was supportive...‖  Prt #6: ―...now that I‘m into college I don‘t get time. Now she also realize I have settled down so she doesn‘t talk for like long duration...‖  Prt #6: ―If I am busy then I tell her [mother] that, ‗I‘ll talk to you after some time‘ so she‘s like, ‗Okay‘...‖  Prt #6: ―...if I am studying then I tell her [mother], ‗Okay mama, I‘ll talk to you in some time, I‘m studying right now,‘...‖ 2. Connection  Participants: Prt #1, Prt #5  Prt #1: ―So in a, in a month we will go and visit them only twice or thrice and while in a whole month only we will call them over...‖  Prt #1: ―...we visit often, they [parents] visit often, my parents Participants: Prt #2, Prt #3, Prt #4  Prt #2: ―...everyday I talk to him [father]...‖  Prt #2: ―So earlier I used to talk to him [father] like more than half an hour a day. Now it‘s decreased to fifteen minutes a day. So no time at all.‖ Participant: Prt #6  Prt #6: ―...I met my parents quite a lot of times last year...I met my parents quite a lot of times....‖  Prt #6: ―...I met them [parents] quite a lot of times.‖  Prt #6: ―I called her [mother] like,   168 have come and stayed with us for months together...‖  Prt #1: ―...we see them often, like whenever I go down to C [city]...‖  Prt #1: ―...I don't call up my parents everyday right, every alternate day or every third day.‖  Prt #1: ―...during the weekday, those five days, there are at least two times I speak to them and I speak to them for good time right, like at least twenty minutes, what is happening, what had happened the last three days and what is- what are their plans for the next three days, and if there is something else that I want to update them on...‖  Prt #1: ―...and some updates about their granddaughter, and they [parents] ask of my in-laws, I tell them what my in-laws are up to. Uh V [partner] is currently travelling so I tell them where he's travelling, what are his plans, and sometimes I send them pictures or videos from here, and then they just tell me that, ‗Ya I‘ve seen that,‘ and they acknowledge  Prt #2: ―Currently...my life is really busy. To tell you, I have two kids, I go to office. Once I‘m back I need to take care of both of them [kids]. So I don‘t have much time to talk to my parents.‖  Prt #2: ―After marriage there is so many responsibility which I should take as a daughter-in-law, as a mother, I have, I have my own life, like official life. So all this things might have taken a bit of time from between my father and me.‖  Prt #2: [Content of the conversations with her father]: ―So, ‗How are you? Where are you? What are you doing? You had lunch? You had dinner?...Where are you?...How is your business?‘ I mean I‘ll ask about my brother, ‗Did he call you?‘ Or my uh aunt and all my relations and all, they stay there nearby my native. I talk about them. So I‘ll say that, ‗This was happen today‘...I‘ll talk about my baby for sometime my...I‘ll talk about B‘s [husband] business... Some of the other thing we have ‗Please come, okay?‘ I was missing her...‖  Prt #6: ―...yes, I talk to my mom everyday....it's been one year I talk to my mom everyday.‖  Prt #6: ―Even now, she [mother] calls me everyday. My father doesn‘t call me everyday but my mom calls me everyday...‖  Prt #6: ―...I used to talk to my mom everyday, like everyday on a video call. I still talk to her everyday whenever I‘m alone or- she calls me everyday, ‗Are you okay? Are you eating on time? What are you doing?‘‖  Prt #6: ―...she [mother] keeps asking me, ‗Ok, what‘s new? What's new?‘ and I‘m like, ‗Nothing is new. Nothing is new. Nothing is new mom.‘ So earlier, earlier I had things to tell her like, ‗Okay I‘m doing...‘ whatever small things like you do when you settle in your house like what kind of bed, or what kind of anything...‖  Prt #6: [Speaking about the   169 that...what had happened, some relation had come home, something happening in somebody's life that my mom wants to share with me, it has been predominantly that always right. Uh, sometimes when there are life events, there are life events happening for us, like for example I'm planning to shift my house, or I'm planning to put my daughter into a new class, or there are troubles at work that I can share with them or I feel like sharing with them, there's some great thing that had happened, I got some gift...‖  Prt #1: [Speaking about the relationship between herself and her parents after her choice marriage]: ―It's been on the same note...I don't think things have changed much...‖  Prt #1: [Speaking about the relationship between herself and her parents after her choice marriage]: ―Same, same as ever. Very good, very strong...‖  Prt #5: ―I used to ring them [parents] up every day...‖ to talk about.‖   Prt #2: ―...very close with my dad...‖  Prt #2: ―...close to my dad...‖  Prt #2: ―I‘ll feel very sad about it. Like, ‗Why my dad didn‘t call me?‘ and the next day I‘ll go to my place to see my dad.‖  Prt #2: [Participant describing changes to her relationship with her father after having a caste-endogamous choice marriage]: ―...after my marriage, nothing was there. It was okay.‖  Prt #3: ―...I talk to my mom for like maybe once in a week, which was like thrice in a week when I was unmarried, and or maybe once in ten days or once in fifteen days.‖  Prt #3: ―...I don‘t call her [mother] much often because...my priorities post marriage have changed.‖  Prt #3: ―...once you get married your priorities do change and I cannot call my parents or my changes in her relationship with her family after being married (e.g., needing to be invited to a relative‘s celebration separately from her parents after her marriage)]: ―Yeah, I don‘t want things to change after marriage.‖  Prt #6: ―...I want them [parents] to do all the things they used to do for me when I was not married.‖  Prt #6: ―..my mom [and] I have always been close...‖  Prt #6: ―...I shared a very nice bond with my parents...‖  Prt #6: ―...my relationship with my parents was good...‖  Prt #6: ―...so I would say that I grew more, I mean, I grew closer to my parents...‖  Prt #6: ―...I just grew more close, like more closer to them [parents]...‖  Prt #6: ―I grew like close to my parents because I realized their importance, and yeah. So since then we have been quite close, so   170  Prt #5: ―I shared a really good bond with my parents. So they had always encouraged me to speak my heart out, like not keep secrets and all that...‖  Prt #5: ―...once a week I'd go to them because they're not staying very far away from my house but we would go to them and stay with them and then the next day would come back we'll stay on a Saturday evening...Saturday evening I would go and stay with them till Sunday evening...‖  Prt #5: [Speaking about the type of relationship she saw herself having with her parents]: ―Yes same sort of friendship I had [with my parents].‖  Prt #5: [Speaking about the relationship between herself and her parents after her choice marriage]: ―...love feeling, affection...‖  Prt #5: [Speaking about the relationship between herself and her parents after her choice marriage]: ―It was always good...‖ sister or my brother or get involved you can say with their lives as much as I used to before…I think I will always have that thing in my mind that okay I am not giving enough to my family...‖  Prt #3: ―...I would like to talk to her [mother] more...‖  Prt #3: ―With my marriage, I get to understand my mother better...I relate to her so much...I value my mother more.‖  Prt #4: ―...the thing is I would say the frequency of interaction has come down...‖  Prt #4: ―...it's just that it has become less frequent and less open...‖  Prt #4: ―...I usually call my mom everyday...even if it's for five minutes, so it's a regular interaction, it's a day to day interaction...so my interactions are daily, day to day normal normal interaction that's all...‖  Prt #4: ―...she [mother] started yeah. And after getting married we are even more close.‖  Prt #6: ―...the fact that I had to leave my parents and leave my home, all these things just made me more closer to them, and even after marriage...‖  Prt #6: ―...I realized their [parents] importance quite a long back...but I grew closer to them before marriage and after marriage...‖  Prt #6: ―...I have the same intense feelings about them [parents] I had when I was getting married.‖  Prt #6: ―...also my relationship with my mother changed a lot, like she‘s more caring, like she‘s just more caring now...‖  Prt #6: ―...we [family] didn‘t used to communicate much earlier like way back earlier, we were not really open to each other and but now we are...improving my relationship...‖     171  Prt #5: [Speaking about the relationship between herself and her parents after her choice marriage]: ―...everything was fine...‖ calling me every now and then and...that‘s a practice that I‘ve gotten till now.‖  Prt #4: ―...mom it is like a day to day thing like, ‗Ok this, this is what I had for lunch, this is what I'm going to have for dinner.‖  Prt #4: [Referencing interactions with her uncle]: ―...it was usually maybe, three, three to four times a month, which possibly now it's like once a month...‖  Prt #4: ―...I became a little distant from him as I was compared to what I was before marriage.‖   Prt #4: ―...we still have a very strong emotional connect- emotional bondage ‗cause she's [mother] the most important person for me at this juncture of life, so, so that part is there...‖  Prt #4: [Speaking about the degree of connection she has with her uncle]: ―...close to my maternal uncle...‖  Prt #4: About her maternal uncle: ―...ya the connection is still there.‖   172  Prt #4: ―...I feel that I want to share a lot of stuff with them [mother and uncle] because I'm disturbed from inside...‖ 3. Responsibility for Others  Participants: Prt #1, Prt #4, Prt #5  Prt #1: [Speaking about the focus of her conversations with her important others]: ―...I speak to them [parents]...and the focus is more on them and very less about me, because if they ask about me I have to tell them all is well here.‖  Prt #1: ―...I definitely make it a point to speak it, to speak to them because they are old and they‘re living alone right...‖  Prt #1: ―...my mom still expects that strength from me...she's very emotionally dependent on me...‖  Prt #1: ―...giving them the assurance that I‘m there for them right, and then it's about asking  how are they keeping themselves engaged...then it's more about their health...‖  Prt #4: ―...now my mom comes and stays with me also on and off Participants: Prt #2, Prt #3  Prt #2: ―...how about his [father] health...‖  Prt #2: ―...right now I can‘t take care of him [father] so well like how he did but some whatever I can do for him, I‘m doing it.‖  Prt #2: ―...if I know that he [father] likes something, I try to buy him, give him. If...he likes some place I‘ll take him there. He likes that food, I‘ll get him that. So whenever I have time, whenever he‘s with me, I‘ll make sure he‘s happy.‖  Prt #2: ―...whenever he comes here I‘ll take him out, I‘ll give him...what he likes, the food or the dress, whatever it is, I‘ll go buy him...he likes photography, so on...their 30th anniversary, I gifted him the photo, I mean, the camera. So I used to give my dad gifts and all. I, whenever I see something I Participant: Prt #6  Prt #6: [Speaking about the importance or care for her parents in her life]: ―‗...you [parents] will always be my priority...‘‖    173 because as I told you my dad passed away and I don't have any siblings, so she comes visit me often...‖  Prt #4: ―I think for my mom, the role has changed or swapped a bit, so far she was my guardian but over the last four or five years or three years, I think I am protecting her more because of her age and since my dad has passed away now. So I would say that role has a little bit swapped, though who is protecting whom doesn't matter...but protecting whom, is the, is the role has swapped, so so far she was protecting me from things, now she was guiding me from things, now I'm doing the same.‖  Prt #5: ―...I would take them things...Like I have an idea. Like they're not lacking anything.‖  Prt #5: [Participant describing what conversations with her parents consisted of]: ―...ask them [parents] whether they took their medicines or not...‖  Prt #5: ―...I had taken up the think my dad likes this...I used to buy it and I used to give it to my dad.‖  Prt #3: ―...when I get time I do call her [mother] and ask her about her health.‖  Prt #3: ―If they [parents] need any help, we're supposed to help them, they brought us up.‖    174 responsibility and they were my dependants...my parents were my dependants...so my parents I helped out a lot...My father had died of that but I had paid for the expenses, so it was good till the end.‖ 4. Responsibility for Marriage  Participants: Prt #1, Prt #4  Prt #1: ―...first year of our marriage we were staying separately, and my parents were also in the same town, but I told them I don't want to visit them every weekend such that the expectation becomes that I will have to visit them every weekend, and I've seen this happening with too many daughters and mothers thing, right...and this conversation of talking to them on the phone everyday and all, I said I will not do it...‖  Prt #1: ―...even after marriage we are not troubling them, or whatever troubles we go, it's my [marriage] choice right and I can't take my troubles back to them...‖  Prt #1: ―Anytime it was both of us [participant and her partner] against the world, both of us Participants: Prt #2, Prt #3  Prt #2: [Speaking about what her relationship with her mother and uncle would have been like if she engaged in an arranged marriage]: ―If at all he [partner picked by father in hypothetical arranged marriage] is not uh nice choice of my father‘s and I used to talk to my- I, I used to tell my father like, ‗You have choosen this for me, right now I am not happy. So all this has happened because of you...I don‘t know this guy that you have seen their family. You thought that he‘s a nice person and you got me married with this person, right now he‘s behaving like this.‘‖  Prt #3: ―...I married man of my choice. I could not just get up and tell her [mother], ‗Okay, I have these problems‘... it became all more difficult, once you grow up Participant: Prt #6  Prt #6: ―...if I would have been in a arranged marriage, whatever problems I would have faced, my parents would have taken that you know, uh, any problem they would have taken the responsibility because they chose- they have chosen the family and the guy for me...if I would have faced any problem, they would have felt a bit guilty about it.‖  Prt #6: [Speaking about what her relationship with parents would have been like if she engaged in an arranged marriage]: ―Yeah, whatever problem I would have faced. They would have taken on the responsibility, that it is...they should see this coming or they should have been more careful and all that stuff.‖  Prt #6: ―... I don‘t really feel good   175 against anybody else, both of us together solving a problem, and we were very clear on that right...we are like partners in crime trying to cheat the world around us...‖  Prt #1: ―I think that initial expectations what we set for them continues till date, so even today I don't call up my parents everyday right...and they don't call me on weekends because they know that's the time I spend with V [partner] a lot and with my daughter a lot, or I will have lot of work around the, around the house, so they ensure that they don't call me on the weekend...‖  Prt #1: ―...they've always treated me as an adult and have given me equal opportunity to take my own decisions, and I think they're still in that in that zone right, where they've allowed me to do what I want to do...but they will never come prying for information, they don't ask me things unless I'm willing to share it with them right...‖  Prt #4: [Speaking about what her it becomes all more difficult and you begin to think in your mind that okay I am an adult I can deal with my problems myself. I am no kid that I should run to my mama to tell, that okay I am bruised. I am hurt. So yeah that, that was the mindset that I had and I was like oh no I can, I can just do it I can just make this work, and this is my marriage.‖  Prt #3: ―...I could just think that I am an adult now and I can make things work on my own...I just had that thought that okay, these are my bruises, I‘ll just sort it all out... on my own.‖   when my father asks me to do certain things which I, which I don‘t agree with, which I don‘t really, you know, I have my own certain perspectives so I don‘t like it, but I do it. I have to do it...I want to avoid conflict. So there are certain things I don‘t want to do at all. But I still do it because I want to avoid conflict.‖  Prt #6: [Interaction with father about not wanting to go to mother-in-law‘s book release event]: ―...he [father] was concerned, so when he came back home he was like ‗Why are you lying? You can tell them, you don‘t have to lie,‘ so like I was like, ‗It's okay. I mean, I am not doing any harm or nobody's getting hurt, I like just to spend time with my family, I wanted to be here with you,‘ so he didn‘t- he didn‘t understand me, and he was more concerned that I am not meeting them or I am lying. These things so I was disappointed...But I still went...I still went to the program. I still went to the book release.‖  Prt #6: ―...I get annoyed when my father tells me to do things which I   176 relationship with her mother and uncle would have been like if she engaged in an arranged marriage]: ―...I would have been happy, fine, even if I would have been facing challenges I could have just open, open out to them [mother and uncle] and say, ‗Ok, this is the problem I'm facing,‘ and I had the liberty to blame them, and say, ‗Ok I got married to this guy because he is, he was your choice, now face the consequences, now fix it.‘ Now I can't say that because I got married to my option or my choice. I can't put a sorry face and go there in front of them.‖  Prt #4: [About how participant‘s relationship with her uncle and mother has changed]: ―...more protective...because I don't want to share all things with them [mother and uncle], and I wouldn't say awkward but I started hiding things also sometimes with them...‖  Prt #4: ―...I prefer to keep my um in-laws family's issues, not to discuss with my, with my family, that's the way I follow it because I don‘t want to do.‖   177 think, anyways, they can't do much they can't do anything, but they will be tense and anxious about it so I don't discuss...‖  Prt #4: ―...I can't share those with them [mother and uncle] because that will make them just more anxious...there are sometimes situations which I am deliberately hiding from them just to keep things uh more relaxed, and more ease, and settled, yes that you can say sometimes I do because I just, I know that telling or sharing things with them won't help with me, they can't fix it. Rather, they will get just anxious, and they're also old folks...‖  Prt #4 : ―...to be honest, I feel even if I tell them [mother and uncle], they can't fix it...she [mother] will just get anxious...there is no point of sharing things with them, it will just make it worse.‖ 5. Validation   Prt #1: ―...after a few years into marriage, she [mother] actually came back and told me, ‗He's [partner] good,‘ ...and she gives the stamping [of approval] for him right...‖  Prt #1: ―...they [mother and father] also give that feedback saying, ‗Ya he's [partner] good, ya he was not like, you know he's not like others, I'm glad you guys are doing things together‘...‖  Prt #1: ―...mom has come over and stayed here at my place, that she tells V [partner] or me that, ‗It doesn't   178 feel like we are coming and actually staying over in our in-laws place,‘ right, and my mom has actually told V [partner] directly that, ‗You are like a son to me only, I don't treat you differently, or I don't feel different with you‘...‖  Prt #1: ―...it also gave us strength that okay what we're doing, we‘re actually doing it the right way and acknowledgement has come from my dad.‖  Prt #1: ―They [parents] are not worried because they know I can handle it.‖  Prt #1: [Participant‘s father sharing]: ―...I trust my daughter...‖  Prt #2: [Speaking about her caste-endogamous choice marriage decision]: ―This is the first decision which I have made in my life and dad was very happy, and that was the most important decision of my entire life. And he was agreed with it and was very positive about it.‖  Prt #2: ―Dad has given respect to my decision.‖  Prt #2: ―So he [father] used to say that, ‗Yeah he‘s [partner] a very nice person. I got a very good son-in-law.‘‖  Prt #2: ―...dad used to say, ‗Yeah your choice is right. He [partner] is a nice person.‘‖  Prt #2: ―...he was defending both of us in front of our relations and all.‖  Prt #3: ―...my mom is like, ‗See according to me you are not a dumbhead, so if you see me giving bathing your baby for like a month at the max, you‘ll learn what it is. It‘s not a rocket science.‘‖  Prt #3: [Participant speaking about her experience of validation from her mother due to her mother‘s lack of pestering, compared to her mother-in-law]: ―Because if it‘ll be winters here, my mother will tell me, ‗Ok cover your daughter properly, it's going to be winters now.‘ My mother-in-law will be like, ‗What‘s socks material are you using for her now? Is it polyester? Are you using woolen? Don‘t give her polyester, give her woolen also.‘‖    179 Prt #3: [Participant speaking about her experience of validation from her mother due to her mother‘s lack of pestering, compared to her mother-in-law]: ―Talking to my mother-in-law is full of instructions...[My mother] wouldn‘t pester me with each and every work that I am doing, that you could do this way...‖  Prt #5: ―...my parents were also very happy, said that...‗they got such a good boy as a son-in-law.‘‖   Prt #5: ―...she [mother] always loved my husband very much, as her own son...‖  Prt #5: ―...they [parents] would always tell, ‗...now I got my son-in-law as my son.‘‖  Prt #5: ―Whatever decisions my parents had to take, they would ask me for my decisions and all that.‖  Prt #5: ―...later on when I got married, my husband, they shifted and they started including my husband's opinion also, they take my husband's opinion, any important decisions they had to make...‖ 6. Respect  Prt #1: ―...which made me and V [partner] get immense respect for my dad, that he knew we were going through those struggles, he knew we were trying to make things happen...‖  Prt #1: ―...he [father] was the only hero I was worshiping day in and day out.‖  Prt #1: [Reference to father]: ―...definitely...my hero...‖  Prt #1: ―...because the way I have seen them [parents] and their married life all through these years, I have already made it up in my mind that it should be that way...‖  Prt #1: ―...can [participant and partner] we emulate them [mother and father], can we pick up their exam- examples, can we learn something from their experiences so that we don't have to do the same mistake twice...‖  Prt #1: ―...they [parents] have lived and showed us how we should live.‖  Prt #2: [Reference to father accepting her caste-endogamous choice marriage]: ―Yeah, like it‘s impressed me more. I‘m like more fond of my dad...So my dad has given importance to my decision... Everything, whatever I said, whatever issues he got it, everything he agreed for it...this actually this instant has given   180 more respect and love for my dad.‖  Prt #2: ―If at all you say that who‘s your role model, I everytime says that my dad is my role model...So I really wanna be like him in any way.‖  Prt #2: ―...I take my dad as a role model. That‘s why I go by his words.‖  Prt #3: ―...mother has done a lot of sacrifices for me that I can see.‖  Prt #3: ―Our relationship has been like once she [mother] opposes something that uh she doesn‘t approve of something I really give it a serious thought in my mind.‖  Prt #3: ―...I have learned a lot of patience from her [mother], that things if they don‘t come easily to you, you get- got to give a lot of patience to things...‖  Prt #3: ―...whatever bit of patience I have, it's from her [mother]. And the never give up thing is from her...‖   Prt #3: ―...my level of confidence post- pre marriage and post marriage...I feel like I can do this, it's because of her [mother].‖  Prt #3: ―‗...there have been limitations, see there are times when you need to accept that you can‘t change certain things. So in those times, we need to have patience,‘ so she‘s [mother] given me that also, because of her I have the courage to accept things that I can‘t change.‖  Prt #4: ―...my uncle has been always like a mentor for me so he still plays a similar role...‖  Prt #4: ―...if I seek any opinion on my professional side like, because he he he has been in one of the very senior roles in a multinational company, so he's a really good mentor in that sense...‖       181 Appendix J  : Expert Peer Reviewer Comments  Note: Text in italics are the primary researcher’s responses to expert peer reviewers’ suggestions.   Expert Peer Reviewer #1 (May 28, 2018) Themes and descriptions are supported by the participant data and findings are consistent with my knowledge and observations in India.   Expert Peer Reviewer #2 (June 19, 2018) Research question: What is the meaning given to the lived experience of close relationship (e.g. parents, relatives, by Indian women in caste endogamous choice marriage.)   Method: Six female participants living in Bangalore were selected via video conferencing software. The data was analyzed using phenomenological analysis to elicit themes from interview transcripts.   Impressions: It is interesting work and the methods used to study the data are appropriate. Yet some questions arise-  i. Introduction to the study is missing which involves a brief review of the past research and theory related to the topic.   Expert reviewers were only provided with and asked to assess the final cross-case analysis themes (Appendix I) rather than the entire thesis.  As such, they were not provided with a thorough introduction and literature review to set up the study.  Expert reviewers were only asked to assess the final cross-case analysis themes because other aspects of the research process were accounted for during the research design stage (e.g., the research proposal was reviewed and accepted by thesis committee members, and single-cases analyses were checked by research team auditors).   ii. What was the basis of selecting only six female participants only from Bangalore?  The sample size is small and heterogeneous.   A minimum of 12 to 15 sample size is required to ensure saturation i.e. when you do not get any additional information. For a particular group, saturation often occurs between 12 to 15 participants. Although, metathemes may be present as early as 6 interviews.   Larger sample size can help mitigate some of the biases and validity threats inherent in the qualitative research.   Justification for the small sample size as well as limiting inclusion criteria to females living in Bangalore are expanded upon in the full thesis document.  Briefly, IPA methodology is concerned with limiting sample heterogeneity, therefore recruiting female participants from Bangalore (Smith et al., 2009).  Further, sample size in IPA research varies; this study followed recommendations   182 by the creators of IPA of recruiting three to 10 participants for an IPA study  (Smith et al., 2009).    iii.   It would be meaningful to know the marital relationship status i.e. marital satisfaction.   Did length of relationship/marriage have any relevance in your inferences?  OR Your aim was to only infer themes?    I agree that it would be meaningful to know what the marital relationship status was of the participants that were interviewed.  The participants’ experiences in their close relationships may have been different due to this dimension.  This has been added to the limitations of the study.    The aim of this study was primarily to infer themes.  While assessing if the length of the relationship or marriage impacted women’s experiences with their close relationships was challenging due to the small sample of six participants, the primary research tried to distinguish differences in the experience of themes based on length of relationship/marriage when it was observed (e.g., responsibility for elders).   iv. If you add more sample to categorize them on the basis of length of marriage or relationship i.e. up to 5 years, 6-10 years, 11-15 years or whatever suits then ask the questions, you might get vital information.   Because the dynamics of the relationship change with change in life after marriage i.e. employment, children, types of family i.e. joint or nuclear etc. Hence, it would be meaningful to have length of marriage/relationship in different categories and then see what themes emerge.    Similarly, for other demographic variables too, e.g. caste, annual income, education, employment can be considered, which has not been done in this work.   I agree, this suggestion has been included explicitly in 5.4 Recommendations for Future Research section.   v. Question no: 1.4, 1.5 seem very subjective because it involves a lot of supposition.   The interview schedule (Appendix E) was approved by the thesis committee during the research proposal stage of the research process.  It is true that question 1.4 and 1.5 are very subjective and involves supposition because they are hypothetical questions.  The goal of including these two questions was to have participants consider how their experiences in their relationships with their close   183 others would be different based on caste (i.e., marrying someone of a different caste) and type of marriage they engaged in (i.e., arranged marriage) to highlight the important differences between those experiences and the experience of being in a caste-endogamous choice marriage.   vi. Themes emerged are good but they could have been more specific for important other factors i.e. husband, mother/father, in-laws etc. None of the participants talk about support, respect, validation from in-laws or husbands.   The focus of this study was on the close relationships participants identified.  All the participants in this sample identified their caregivers as the relationships they wanted to speak about.  The implicit focus of this research was on pre-existing relationships (i.e., relationships that were present before individuals’ marriage or relationship with their husbands) rather than relationships that typically occur after marriage (e.g., with participants’ husbands or in-laws).  As such, while Expert Peer Reviewer #2’s suggestions are appropriate, the focus of this research study is specific to pre-existing relationships.  The relationships Expert Peer Reviewer #2 highlights are important to consider for future research and this suggestion has been included in section 5.4 Recommendations for Future Research.  vii. Only collective themes have been worked out. Individual themes could also be seen as the size of the sample is small.  Expert reviewers were only provided with and asked to assess the final cross-case analysis themes (Appendix I).  Individual participant themes were analyzed and checked by research team auditors.  Individuals’ unique experiences of the themes are highlighted throughout the discussion of the cross-case themes to maintain IPA’s idiographic focus.    viii. While labelling and defining themes, examples of narratives could be illustrated.   Expert reviewers were only provided with and asked to assess the final cross-case analysis themes (Appendix I) rather than the entire thesis.  The final themes are described in detail using rich, thick description, and verbatim extracts from participants’ interviews to illustrate how the theme was experienced similarly or differently across the participants.   ix. Discussion of the results not mentioned which involves relating to theories present in the introduction or it can be based on the themes found.   Expert reviewers were only provided with and asked to assess the final cross-case analysis themes (Appendix I) rather than the entire thesis.  As such, they were not provided with the discussion of the results where final themes are discussed in relation to literature or theories introduced in the introduction or literature review of the thesis.    184  x. Conclusions of the study are not drawn.    Expert reviewers were only provided with and asked to assess the final cross-case analysis themes (Appendix I) rather than the entire thesis.  As such, they were not provided with the narrative results and discussion where conclusions of the study would be drawn.   185 Appendix K  : Participant Demographics  Name Age (Years) Husband's Age (Years) Sex Husband's Sex City Born In State Born In Current City Current State Length of Residence (Years) Aditi 59 62 Female Male Maharashtra  Mumbai Bengaluru Karnataka 10 Anika  25 28 Female Male New Delhi Delhi Bengaluru Karnataka 1 Diya 32 32 Female Male Chennai Tamil Nadu Bengaluru Karnataka 5 Jessi 31 31 Female Male Madanapalle Andhra Pradesh Bengaluru Karnataka 10 Mansi 35 36 Female Male Calcutta West Bengal Bengaluru Karnataka 10.5 Priya 29 31 Female Male Patna Bihar Bengaluru Karnataka 1.5  Name Husband's City Born In Husband's State Born In Husband's Current Location Husband's Current State Husband's Length of Residence (Year) Ethnicity Husband's Ethnicity Caste Aditi Maharashtra  Mumbai Bengaluru Karnataka 10 Indian Indian Kshatriya Anika  New Delhi Delhi Bengaluru Karnataka 3 Indian Indian Brahmin Diya Chennai Tamil Nadu Bengaluru Karnataka 5 Indian Indian Brahmin Jessi Bhadrachalem Andhra Pradesh Bengaluru Karnataka 6 Indian Indian Vishya Mansi Lucknow Uttar Pradesh Bengaluru Karnataka 12.5 Indian Indian Kshatriya Priya Jamnipali Madhyapradesh Bengaluru Karnataka 10 Indian Indian Khatri  Name Religious Affiliation Husband's Religious Affiliation Primary Language Secondary Language Tertiary Language Husband's Primary Language Husband's Secondary Language Husband's Tertiary Language Education Aditi Hindu Hindu Bengali English Hindi Bengali English Hindi B.Comm. Anika  Hindu Hindu Hindi English N/A Hindi English N/A B.Ed. Diya Hindu Hindu Tamil English Hindi Tamil English Hindi M.A. Jessi Hindu Hindu Telugu Hindi English Telugu Hindi English B.Sc. Mansi Hindu Hindu Hindi English East Bengali Hindi English N/A M.A. Priya Hindu Hindu Hindi English Punjabi Hindi English Punjabi M.D.S.   186 Name Subject Husband's Education Husband's Subject Current Occupation Husband's Occupation Annual Income (Lakhs) Husband's Annual Income (Lakhs) Aditi Commerce M.S. Engineering Bank Manager Retired 24 N/A Anika  Education M.Sc. Information Design Student Information Designer N/A 19 Diya Communication & Media Studies M.A. Marketing Communication Analytics Consultant Procurement Manager 15 17 Jessi Biotechnology B.Comm. Commerce N/A Self-Employed 7 12 Mansi Economics, Statistics B.Tech. Computer Science Engineering Assistant Vice President Senior Chief Technology Manager 50 50 Priya Dentistry B.Tech. Chemical Engineering N/A Reliability Engineer N/A 18-24  Name First Relationship Length of Current Relationship (Years) Length of Marriage (Years) Children Aditi Yes 38 32 Yes Anika  No 4 1 No Diya Yes 14 7 Yes Jessi Yes 6.5 6 Yes Mansi No 6.5 4.5 No Priya No 5.5 3.75 Yes  

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