Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Family Science and Human Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Pearl Stewart

Committee Member

Katia Paz Goldfarb

Committee Member

Ashley Ermer


This paper analyzes how family expectations from the Haitian culture manifest in the marriages of middle-aged Haitian-American couples. This study emphasizes that the evolution to biculturalism is a major factor in the adjustments of cultural expectations. Four middle-aged Haitian-American couples were interviewed via Zoom individually. They were asked to describe how they believed Haitian culture and family expectations influenced their family and marriage life. The results indicate that the middle-aged Haitian-American couples adhere to explicit and implicit family expectations set out by their families of origin; these expectations were influenced by Haitian culture. The major themes from the study were: continued but modified gender roles, the expectation to get married, upholding Haitian traditions, stoic love expression, and the importance of religion. The participants in this study also mimicked similar family expectations for their children by presuming they will marry and uphold Haitian traditions just as they learned from their parents and elders. Ultimately, the participants in this study have taken elements of Haitian and American culture coupled with their family expectations and the influence of their peers’ expectations in America to form a new culture for themselves, Haitian- American. This shows up in their marital practices and decisions as well as the way they choose to raise their children.

File Format