UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Punjabi immigrant women’s narratives of mental health and health care utilization Jhangiani, Surita


Indian Punjabis constitute a large proportion of the immigrant population in the Lower Mainland of BC. By 2031, it is anticipated that South Asians will be the largest visibility minority group in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2005). As a result, the mental health needs of this population may soon have a large impact on mental health providers. The present study investigated how Punjabi immigrant women constructed the meaning of mental health through the following research questions: 1) How do Punjabi immigrant women define concepts related to mental health and illness?; 2) How are mental health services accessed and utilized by the participants?; 3) In what ways do the existing mental health services meet or fail to meet the needs of the participants?; 4) How can these services be made more culturally accessible?; and 5) How is mental health defined by prominent mental health organizations? Drawing from feminist post-colonial theory and utilizing a critical qualitative approach, the first segment of this study was a narrative analysis of qualitative interviews that enabled an understanding of the participants’ views of mental health and experiences accessing mental health services and; the second segment of the study critically analyzed documents pertaining to the meaning of mental health as defined by three prominent mental health organizations. The results of this study suggested that the participants’ conceptions of mental health shared some similarities with Western models. The meanings that the participants constructed for various concepts, and their underlying metaphors, however, differed from Western models of mental health. Further, cultural conventions and perceptions often affected how participants’ viewed mental health issues and the type of help they sought. Recommendations, limitations and challenges, and future directions are discussed. As critical research, the results of this study contribute to the ongoing development of a culturally responsive approach to health care provision.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International