This case study examined how an Indigenous Kalasha participant in northern Pakistan makes sense of his multi-faceted identity. The interpretative phenomenological analysis method was used to analyze data from an in-depth, single person case study. Our selected participant was a 36-year-old male postgraduate student from an Indigenous marginalized tribe, which is an ethnic and religious minority group in the northern Hindukush mountain region of Pakistan. Results are presented in four superordinate themes: (1) Identity: admixture of a number of identities, (2) Changing culture and its psychological impact, (3) Cultural protective factors against psychological problems and (4) Mental health perspective. The findings explained the construct of “identity” in an indigenous way that takes varying forms ranging from admixture of identities (ethnic and national identities) to how globalization, transition, and adaptation processes have been disrupting the practice of Kalasha cultural traditions. The findings also revealed the factors deeply enrooted in Kalasha culture and traditions that have helped people maintain their psychological resilience and buffered against psychological problems. This paper is presented as an appropriate method for advancing psychological understanding of “cultural identity” and exploring the connections between the two constructs of “mental health” and “identity.”


identity, Indigenous, mental health, globalization, Kalasha, psychological resilience, cultural identity, ethnic identity, marginalized, minority, qualitative research, interpretative phenomenological analysis

Author Bio(s)

Dr Fahad (Corresponding Author) is a Senior Lecturer at Department of Psychology, Monash University and Research Associate at Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Canada. He is an active qualitative researcher interested in Indigenous and diverse groups to foster thriving communities. Please direct correspondence to fahad.riaz.psy@gmail.com; fahad.riaz@sunnybrook.ca

Karen Jennifer Golden is with the Department of Psychology, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia.

Miriam Sang-Ah Park is with the Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, U.K.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




ORCID 0000-0002-4119-5225



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