A study of dual cultures in dyadic relations

Grace Victoria Greenwood, Florida International University


Elderly caregiving, a fact of life for millions of Americans, has gained significance with the increase in the elderly population. Over 25 million family caregivers in the US, most of whom are women rearing their own children, care for severely ill or disabled family members. The increased flow of women into the labor force has caused this traditional role to be entrusted to hired caregivers, mainly home health aides. This case study describes and explains the dyadic experiences of elderly Jewish clients and their Jamaican home health aides in a mixed-culture environment. The inquiry was conducted with a purposive sample of four dyads, their case manager, and the placement officer, all of whom were selected through a home care agency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Strategies of data collection including non-participant observation, interviews, document analysis, and researcher's journals. Data from verbatim transcription of interviews and field notes were coded, sorted into emic categories, and reduced as linkages were identified via cross-case comparison. Three major themes—mixed-culture experiences, relationship building and maintenance, and agency role perceptions—emerged from the interpretative analysis of the data. Assertions from these findings include that dyads have established a range of relationships to meet their personal needs, expectations, and desires in these goal-driven relationships. Relationally, they have reached interactional synchrony with some achieving the ideal family-type bond. Cultural difference is but one of the many contextual variables in the home care environment, which has its own cultural norms and expectations. Conflicts transcend cultural difference and seemed more a factor of individual relational disposition.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education|Cultural anthropology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Gerontology

Recommended Citation

Greenwood, Grace Victoria, "A study of dual cultures in dyadic relations" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3128607.