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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Male identity development for Canadian Chinese male immigrants Ho, Koon Ming


A qualitative research design based on Giorgi's (1975a, 1975b) phenomenological methodology was used to investigate and describe the male identity development experiences of Chinese Canadian adult male immigrants. Seven men volunteered to participate in this research study. They were recruited from university family housing and community agencies serving Chinese immigrants in the Vancouver area of Canada. Data were collected through personal interviews conducted in English that were audio taped and transcribed. The interview data yielded five common themes across the participants that described an experience of male identity development for these Canadian Chinese male immigrants. These five themes were: (1) Feeling a deep sense of responsibility, that they felt deeply responsible towards others as a husband and a father, for both the present and the future. (2) Accepting gender equity with willingness to compromise; as these Chinese Canadian immigrant men learned to balance between power and harmony in a more gender equity culture. (3) Learning to be a man by searching; as these men actively searched and developed their male identities. (4) Familial events influenced male identity development in adulthood; as they indicated that influence from their families often changed their male identities in adulthood. (5) Looking forward to personal growth; as these men often wanted more personal development and fulfillment. These five themes described a common male experience of Chinese Canadian male immigrants. They emphasized mastery of their responsibilities and roles as men. Immigration to Canada brought threats and challenges to their male identities. Both the micro-familial dynamics and the macro-societal context influenced development of their male identity. Familial interactions and events were the main reasons that influenced them to reconstruct more egalitarian male identities, while the social context set the boundary for individual choices. Their original male identities were developed through long term childhood and adolescent socialization under the strong influences of Chinese values. Yet they were searching for better definitions of male identity during adulthood in their adopted country, as their male identities were still fluid and dynamic during adulthood.

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