Online Program

Doing the hula: Second generation older Asian American Pacific Islander women and the meaning of culture

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 3:18 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Anne Soon Choi, PhD, MPH, MSW, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, California State University Dominguez Hills, Carson, CA
With the rapid growth of first generation Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, scant attention has been paid to the aging of earlier generations of AAPIs. California, in addition to more recent AAPI immigrant groups, is home to Asian immigrant communities that date to the 19th century and early part of the 20th century. The descendants of this “first wave” of Asian immigration, many who are now older adults, serve as a unique population to examine the meaning of culture and identity for individuals who are second and third generation immigrants. In particular, this study focuses on how one group of Japanese American women who grew up in Hawai'i have become involved in hula dancing as older adults. In-depth interviews and participant observations were conducted over one year with twelve Japanese American older adult women who were involved in a hula troupe. Information was gathered about how involvement in hula impacted the composition and quality of their health and social networks. Additionally, this study examined the meaning and relevance of ethnic culture for second and third generation AAPI older adult women. Data were transcribed and independently coded to identify key patterns and themes. It was discovered that for Japanese American older adult women, an embracing of cultural identity later in life had numerous positive outcomes including denser social networks and improved health outcomes. This is particularly significant since these women grew up in an era where complete assimilation into mainstream American life was the expectation.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain how older AAPI women understand culture later in life Identify how immigrant status continues to have significance even for second generation older adults Understand how engaging in cultural/ethnic activities increases social networks and improves quality of life for AAPI older adult women

Keyword(s): Aging, Asian and Pacific Islander Women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am trained in public health and social work and have been working on issues of minority health for over five years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.