Reasoning about family honour among two generations of Hindu Indian-Americans

Journal of Moral Education 41 (1):79-98 (2012)
Abstract
To investigate reasoning about family honour, 128 first generation (mean age = 27.2 years) and second generation Hindu Indian-American adults (mean age = 24.7 years) were presented hypothetical scenarios in which male or female protagonists defied common Hindu customs (e.g., arranged marriage, intra-religion marriage and premarital sexual abstinence). Questions assessed beliefs about customs, connections to family honour and socio-moral orientations towards honour violations. Both generations perceived intra-religion marriage and premarital sexual abstinence to function for group identity-related reasons, such as preserving Hindu culture and maintaining Hindu identity. First generation participants judged defiance of marital and abstinence traditions in moral terms more often than second generation participants (mainly for female protagonists). Justifications for moral judgements referenced damage to group identity, including family image, Hindu identity and cultural preservation. Implications for theories of moral psychology are discussed.
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