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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Counseling and Human Development

First Advisor

Ruth Harper


While student affairs research has examined the religious and spiritual experiences of White and Christian college student populations, few studies explore the religious or spiritual experiences of Asian Indian Hindu students relocating to the United States for educational reasons. This study examines Asian Indian Hindu religious or spiritual affiliation change as experienced by five Asian Indian Hindu students attending a rural public university in the United States. Qualitative data was collected from a series of three in-depth interviews with each student using narrative inquiry methodology. Following the second interview, a modified version of Accapadi’s (2012) Point of Entry Model (POEM) was issued; participants were asked to complete this model, indicating his or her current level of affiliation with Hinduism. Six factors influencing an Asian Indian Hindu student’s religious and spiritual affiliation were identified and placed within a modified POEM. Although each factor was identified and differentiated from the rest, a dynamic interplay of all six factors best describes the multifaceted experience encountered and lived out by these five Asian Indian Hindu students. This study cites the need for recognition of the religious and spiritual challenges encountered by a growing population of Asian Indian Hindu students attending American institutions of higher education. Student affairs professionals should familiarize themselves with this growing population of international students who bring unique religious and spiritual ways of life to U.S. campuses.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

East Indian American college students -- Religious life
East Indian American college students -- Social life and customs


Includes bibliographical references (pages 68-71)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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