BS (Social Sciences & Liberal Arts)

Faculty / School

School of Economics and Social Sciences (SESS)


Department of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Date of Submission



Dr. Adam Abdullah, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts


Dr. Ayesha Zia, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts

Project Type

SSLA Culminating Experience

Access Type

Restricted Access


This qualitative research investigated the impact of living in urban joint family households on married women's mental health in DHA Karachi. The research objectives were to uncover the nuances of these impacts and contribute to the understanding of urban mental health and women's well-being. The sample consisted of six women living in joint families in DHA Karachi who were recruited through social media posts and personal contacts.

By using in-depth and semi-structured interviews, and incorporating ethnographic insights, the study investigated the specific aspects of these households that influence women's eudemonic well-being and their sense of independence/interdependence in identity. The study was done using a hybrid thematic analysis approach, combining inductive and deductive analysis whereby the impacts of social, spatial, temporal and financial characteristics of the joint family system were examined on women’s mental health.

Four sub-themes were identified for social characteristics, including the reinforcement of traditional gender roles, the influence of motherhood in autonomous decision-making, the impact of endogamous and exogamous marriages, and the role of technology in communication and boundary management. Two sub-themes were identified for spatial characteristics, focusing on room-sharing with children and autonomy in space management. One sub-theme addressed temporal characteristics, exploring autonomy in time management and feelings of guilt. Three sub-themes were identified for financial characteristics, including the interplay between nuclear family sizes and financial contributions, perceptions of financial autonomy and sociocultural norms, and the dynamics of sharing human resources. The study suggests future research ideas to develop interventions that support women’s well-being in joint families.


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This research was inspired by the course Urban Mental Health, and is one of the first researches done in this field in the context of Karachi. Hoping for this work to contribute to something bigger!

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