Thesis

The experiences of Hmong men who marry as adolescents

The purpose of this study is to explore the issues that arise for adolescent Hmong males who were culturally married under the legal age of eighteen, as well as the resulting pressures they experienced due to competing expectations between traditional Hmong culture and the American context in which they live. More specifically, this study addresses the consequences Hmong males face when they marry young, particularly the ways in which early marriage may affect educational attainment, career/job success, financial stability, health, and general emotional well-being. An exploratory qualitative design was used in the study that included face to face interviews with 7 Hmong adult men who married as adolescents. The findings from this research indicate that the Hmong men who marry as adolescents struggles to fulfill the expectations of a married man, integrate two different worlds (the American mainstream and the traditional Hmong culture) into their everyday life, to pursue their education, and achieve financial stability. The findings of this study indicate a much needed insight to practitioners to better assist Hmong males, and their families with respect to the issue of adolescent marriage is key to providing this culturally and ethnically distinct group, who are attempting to find their place in mainstream U.S. society. The information gained in this study will aid social workers in developing more effective interventions with Hmong men, their families, and the overall Hmong community who have either married young or are facing decisions around adolescent marriage.

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