Get access

Romantic Experiences of Homeland and Diaspora South Asian Youth: Westernizing Processes of Media and Friends


  • This research was supported by a fellowship grant from Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute, awarded to the first author.
  • The authors wish to thank Drs. Deepali Sharma and Suman Verma for their instrumental help in connecting us with study participants, the volunteer research assistants (Michelle Dick, Sheetal Mistry, and Paola Ostinelli) for the significant dedication of their time, Dr. Marcela Raffaelli and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments, and the study participants for their invaluable information.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Amrit Dhariwal, LaMarsh Centre for Research on Children and Youth, York University, 5022 TEL Building, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3. E-mail:


The current study examined 1316 South Asian youth socialized in progressively Westernized contexts: “traditional” Indian homeland single-sex schools, “transitional” Indian homeland co-educational schools, and the immigrant “diaspora” in Canadian schools. Results showed youth in the three contexts were similar on romantic desire. Yet those in increasingly Westernized contexts reported more romantic activities and greater perceived autonomy from parents in partner choice. They were also more likely to consume Western and social media, and possess friends fostering permissive expectations, greater cross-sex network composition, and intimate communication. Involvement with the global media and friends explained the link between the cultural spectrum and romantic experiences. Implications of global restructuring on romantic experiences, media usage, and friendships are discussed, in consideration of gender.