Date of Award

Summer 7-12-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Counseling Psychology


Professional Psychology and Family Therapy


Noelany Pelc, PhD

Committee Member

Pamela Foley, PhD

Committee Member

Minsun Lee, PhD

Committee Member

Omayra Arocho, PhD


Second-generation Dominicans, ethnic and cultural identity, bicultural, interpersonal conflict, conflict and resolution style


This study explored how ethnic identity and the cultural experiences of second-generation Dominicans living in New York City influenced their understanding of conflict and coping. As a general theoretical framework, collectivism and individualism guided the examination of ethnic and bicultural identity and interpersonal conflict. A thematic analysis was conducted to generate themes of participants’ narratives, cultural affiliations, and preferred conflict styles. A total of 15 participants, ages 19–46, were recruited through social media. All participants self-identified as second-generation Dominican; they were born and raised in New York City to Dominican-born parents. Participants completed a semi-structured interview and a demographic questionnaire. The results generated three main themes. Theme 1: The experience of culture and how it informs relationships and conflict generated three cultural themes (confianza, familismo, personalismo, and respeto) and seven subthemes were uncovered. Theme 2: Cultural influences on conflict and resolution style revealed seven subthemes of conflict styles (avoidance and withdrawing, obliging and accommodating, third-party, emotionally expressive, integrating, and dominating), that fall under the two main themes of collectivistic and individualistic conflict and resolution styles. Additionally, the data revealed Theme 3, six common coping strategies: (a) support, validation, and a desire for closeness; (b) attending therapy; (c) processing events alone and going for a walk; (d) using the arts to cope; (e) eating comfort food; and (f) mindful tasks. The participants reported a pattern of several conflict styles within one experience rather than a primary style. This study’s findings have important implications for mental health services and further research investigations.