Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Christopher Burnett

Committee Member

Anne Rambo

Committee Member

Robin Cooper


Similar to other immigrant populations in the United States, Haitians have a migratory history of escaping from political turmoil, natural disasters, and extreme poverty (Zephir, 2004). However, Haitian Americans remain one of the underserved populations in the United States. Marginalized yet resilient, Haitian families in the U.S. continue to display strength in the face of adversity. Second-generation Haitian-American college graduates are the evidence of such strengths. There is very little research focused on second-generation Haitian-American college graduates’ perspective on the possible familial influences pertaining to education. Using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) design and Bowen’s Family Systems Theory as a theoretical framework, this study explored the lived experiences of seven selected selfidentified second-generation Haitian-American college graduates. The study was driven by three questions: 1. How do second-generation Haitian-American college graduates describe their cultural views on education? 2. How do these cultural views on education inform or influence Haitian families living in South Florida? 3. What are the lived experiences of second-generation Haitian-American college graduates regarding their family of origin’s influences on them as it pertains to education? Six themes emerged as a result: Multigenerational Method of Transmission, Reminiscent Educational Dialogue, Education as Economic Protection, Expected Educational Momentum, Future Multigenerational Method of Transmission, and Broadening the Educational View. It is the hope of the researcher that this study will expand marriage and family therapists’ understanding of the possible cultural/familial concerns, as well as, possible strengths and resources when working with Haitian families.