Date of Award:

2006

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Family, Consumer, and Human Development

Advisor/Chair:

Randall M. Jones

Abstract

A cross-cultural examination of a selected group of Indian and American adolescents was conducted to understand the influence of cultural expectations, gender, and identity on adolescents' niche-building behavior. For the purpose of the present study, adolescents' niche was limited to their bedrooms. Data were collected from 285 American adolescents of which 151 were females and 134 were males. The Indian sample consisted of 198 adolescents of whom 75 were females, 118 were males, and 5 adolescents who did not mention their gender. Participants from both cultures were from eighth and ninth grades, with an age range of 12.17 to 16.50 years. The results of the study showed that adolescents' niche-building behavior differed based on culture, gender, and identity. Indian adolescents possessed/desired a greater variety of electronic equipment, furniture, and decorative items in their bedrooms as compared to their American counterparts. Females had/desired a larger variety of items in their bedrooms as compared to males. Females had/desired more relationship items like pictures of family members and make-up accessories in their bedrooms, whereas males had/desired more instrumental items like athletic equipment or sporting goods. Interestingly, more females than males had/desired pictures of themselves that reflected "who they were." A higher percentage of diffused/avoidant adolescents had/desired items and possessions in their bedrooms as compared to achieved/moratorium or foreclosed adolescents. Achieved/moratorium as well as diffused/avoidant adolescents were more likely to have/desire computers, internet access, globes or maps in their bedrooms as compared to foreclosed adolescents who were more likely to have/desire religious items. Interaction effects showed that Indian females were mostly likely to have/desire possessions in their bedrooms followed by American females, Indian males, and American males.

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