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Publication Date

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Roberto J. Gonzalez


aging, Arab immigrants, California

Subject Areas

Cultural anthropology; Gerontology; Middle Eastern studies


There are relatively few studies on Arab-American immigrant families. As the immigrant population grows older in the United States, their situations raise wider social issues about aging. I examined the social landscape of aging and health within Arab-American families in the San Francisco Bay Area amidst changing intergenerational relationships. This research used a life history approach supplemented by participant observation. Interviewees discussed how immigration and transnationalism affected their approach to caring for aging family members, raising American-born children, and growing older. Arab immigrant life expectancy is increasing as a result of access to the US healthcare system but this is having unforeseen social impacts. As family members live longer, the economic and personal costs brought about by the responsibility to care for the elderly is contributing to the stresses of daily life. In addition, the notion of what comprises the Arab family is changing. The research points to the growing need to examine the social impacts of aging among different populations in the United States as well as globally.