Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Normal mental health has always been defined from a Euro-centric worldview that excludes non-Westem cultures. In fact, what is normal is biased against non-Westem cultural ideals that influenced the definition of mental health. The difference between Eastern and Western cultural values suggest that the two cultures may also have differing views on the definition of normal mental health. The most commonly accepted definition of normality currently in use in the West is based on the models of health, utopia, average, transactional systems, and pragmatism. However, people from non-European cultures, such as Asian Indians, may not be represented by these current parameters of mental health and illness.

In this study, the construct of normality was investigated from an Asian Indian perspective. Specifically, interviews were conducted with Asian Indian graduate students in which participants were asked to discuss their perceptions of normal mental health. A Consensual Qualitative Research analysis strategy was then conducted. Five domains were created: Perceptions of Normal, Perceptions of Abnormal, Cause of Mental Illness, Criteria Used to Differentiate Normal from Abnormal, and Difficulties in Defining Normal. The categories within these domains were discussed as they related to psychological treatment services for international students such as well as implications for future research.