‘The weight falls on my shoulders’: close relationships and women’s wellbeing in India

Sarah White, Shreya Jha

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This chapter investigates the widely remarked associations between close relationships and wellbeing, drawing on mixed method research in Chhattisgarh, India, 2010-2013. It describes the challenges of developing a measure of wellbeing in family relationships, and the difference between high quantitative scores given in response to direct survey questions and much less positive qualitative accounts. This suggests the difficulty of getting accurate quantitative data on the quality of relationships, and the importance of qualitative methods to balance and aid interpretation of quantitative scores. In-depth case studies of two unusually empowered women are presented. These question static or reified images of relationships having an ‘effect on’ wellbeing, presenting instead wellbeing as a process of active construction, in which women’s everyday management and negotiation of relationships play a significant part.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultures of Wellbeing
Subtitle of host publicationMethod, Place, Policy
EditorsS. C. White, C. Blackmore
Place of PublicationBasingstoke, U. K.
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781137536440
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2015


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