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Joan Sotelo

on 17 September 2013

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Transcript of Culture

Cultural Family Values

Statistics of Hispanic/Latino immigrants in US

Latinos are the largest and fastest growing minority population in the US
It is estimated that by 2050 ¼ of the US population will be Latino (2006 census)
Mexicans are the largest Immigrant group in the united states –
In 2009 about 47% of all immigrants were Hispanics
In 2009 about 30% were Mexicans
Most Hispanic immigrants reside in:
California, Texas, Illinois, Arizona,
and Georgia.


Hispanics must adapt to the American life and try to become “Americanized”

Gender roles begin to shift:
Latino woman assimilate by becoming independent and exercising autonomy.
This may cause dysfunction in a couple if the male counterpart does not assimilate at the same speed as the woman.
Orient toward individualistic values and attitudes
Children usually acculturate much faster than parents
Gap between individualistic values children attain vs the collectivist values and traditions parents hold on to from their Hispanic/ Latino culture.

Family Structure
Desire to maintain strong family ties

Family will be the primary source of influential and emotional support

Family loyalty, and commitment to family over individual needs and desire

-Familism/ Familismo

Halgunseth, L. C., Ispa, J. M., & Rudy, D. (2006)
Who Are They?
Spanish and Portuguese (mostly in Brazil) are the dominate languages in Latino culture, although a plethora of languages are heard
Regional dialects/accents
Example: la guagua
Cuba, Puerto Rico, and in Spain: Bus
Dominican Republic: Car
Ecuador: Little boy
Chile: Baby
Study by Valdes (1996) of 10 Mexican-American Families found:

By age (4), children were taught the verbal and nonverbal rules of respect:
politely greeting elders,
not challenging an elders point of view, and
not interrupting conversations between adults.

To be respected, children should maintain their assigned roles as children

What does this mean?

This example shows similarities in the language, however, this also highlights the small differences that make each Latino culture unique.
Does not only apply to academics – also refers to training in:
morality, and
interpersonal relationships.

“Ninos educados” refers to children they judge to possess qualities reflective of good manners and high morals—warmth, honesty, politeness, respectfulness, and responsibility.
Roman Catholicism is the dominate religion for more than 90% of Spanish speakers

Etiquette in Communicating
Fun Facts:
A firm handshake is common for greetings/saying goodbye
A hug and a kiss on the cheek (sometimes both cheeks) are common greetings for close friends or family between two women, two men, or a man and woman (story time!/interaction with therapist)
The Spanish language provides formal and nonformal greetings/the way one addresses another
You -
is more formal;
is less formal
Titles such as
are used to show respect
Conversations around close friends and family (nonformal) are usually loud, fast, and animated
What research has found:
religion is related to lower levels of depression among adults
attendance to religious settings has been related with well-being among Mexican Americans
for Latino immigrants, using religion to cope has been associated with lower acculturation stress
Researchers link religion and well-being with the idea that spirituality helps increase feelings of control; having a sense of control may help immigrants who feel like they have limited power over their environment
Knowing you can turn to "a higher power" has been found to be a source of strength
Latinos who are pro religious have shown high levels of life satisfaction
"Primero Dios" "Si Dios quiere"
Miranda et Al., 2006
Acculturation and mental health

Hispanics who try to acculturate have higher suicide rates than those who are less culturally similar to Americans.
The more that an individual assimilates to the American culture becomes “Americanized” the further away the are from their cultural roots.
Must let go of social networks, rituals, belief systems which leads to increased isolation and alienation.
Immigrants often leave behind a home, family, and come to an unknown place with no resources and no emotional support system.
(Wadsworth & Kubrin, 2007)

Implications for Therapy
Little knowledge about counseling
In Hispanic cultures going to a psychologist is for people who have severe mental issues – labeled as crazy
Turn to family and other support systems before seeking therapy and may not seek services until the situation is are severe.
Fear of Deportation
The participants in one study said their undocumented status “prevents them from taking even the first step to reach out for help or information”. They prefer to “hide and try to become invisible” due to their fear of being turned in.
Lack of services in Spanish
Economic hardships
low income, lack of transportation
-Garrett, 2006

Familismo may be seen as enmeshment by therapists who are unaware of Latino emphasis on family cohesion.

Tips for Therapists
Lack of family support system
Prejudice and discrimination
Culture shock
Trauma from immigration travel
Raped, robbed, death, loss of loved ones
PTSD, Depression

-Garrett, 2006

- Challenges faced

Latinos make up the largest percentage of the “working poor” in the United States
(Acevedo, 2005 from Furman et al. 2009 )

Paid minimum wage and work in harsh conditions
Treated poorly, no health benefits
Seen as easily deportable and easily replaceable
Lack of means for transportation
Must live in unsafe neighborhoods
Economic hardships
Halgunseth, L. C., Ispa, J. M., & Rudy, D. (2006)
Halgunseth, L. C., Ispa, J. M., & Rudy, D. (2006)
Studies have suggested familismo is associated with:
-lower stress, -less alcohol use, and fewer behavior problems.

Priest & Denton study suggested family discord & cohesion are associated with many anxiety disorders -- findings varied for Latino subgroups.

J. Priest & W. Denton (2012)
Language Barrier
Language Gap between Parent and Child
More likely to reside in family households than are non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks.--especially Mexican Americans. (Consistent with familismo theory)
Households in which the head of house is immigrant:
more likely to be family households than those in which the householder is native-born (of native or foreign parentage).
Cuban and Mexican HHs:
most likely to be headed by a married couple (75 and 69%, respectively, compared with 79% for non-Hispanic whites)
least likely to be headed by a female with no spouse or partner present (16 and 18%, respectively, compared with 11% for non-Hispanic whites).
Puerto Ricans :
53% of Puerto Rican family HHs are headed by a married couple and
34% are headed by a female with no spouse or partner present.
Cohabitation is the least common arrangement
6-7% of Latino family householders in all subgroups except Cubans (4%) live with a cohabiting partner.

These percentages are slightly higher than that for non-Hispanic whites (5%) and roughly comparable to that for non-Hispanic blacks (6%).

Slightly larger HH size and the greater chance of extended families living together

Health: When the professional and client/patient do not share the same language
FLCA: Foreign Language Communication Anxiety
Most striking difference: living arrangements of elderly--more likely to live with other relatives and less likely to live alone than are non- Hispanic whites.
5% of non-Hispanic whites live with other relatives,
19% of Mexicans and Cubans,
15% of Puerto Ricans, and
33% of Central/South Americans.

Reflects differences in economic resources and cultural preferences regarding the care of the elderly.
- M. Tienda & F. Mitchell (2006)
- M. Tienda & F. Mitchell (2006)
- M. Tienda & F. Mitchell (2006)
- M. Tienda & F. Mitchell (2006)
Gender Roles and

Leads to miscommunication, family discord, and conflict.
Parents expect children to follow cultural values, traditions, and lifestyles from their home countries.
Children’s embrace of hosting country’s culture are often seen as family violations which have been associated with family dysfunction.
Multi-generational Latino families experienced conflict when younger generation Latinos chose to exclusively speak English
Family conflicts appeared common and especially severe when the children who were Americanized reached adolescence. Studies suggest this is a result of U.S. born adolescents striving to be more independent and autonomous going against the value of familismo.
Santisteban and Matrani (2003) found that an acculturated child may ally with a parent who is acculturated which may contribute marital and family discord, if the other parent is not acculturated. Child may also exclude and disrespect the parent who adheres to the native culture.

Miranda et. al (2006)
How can we bridge the gap while preserving the culture?
It has been reported that immigrants have stated that the inability to speak English is a barrier keeping them from a better life.
Learning a new language as an immigrant can be a major obstacle, and when people have trouble learning the language it keeps them from making support groups/connection in their communities.
On a daily basis, language barriers can be seen when taking a bus, going grocery shopping, going to a library, seeing a doctor, attending school as a parent or student, and when an individual is lost and needs help with directions.
Everyday tasks can become overwhelming and frightening for immigrants
ESL: English as a Second Language programs
Programs in communities
Programs at work sites
ESL speakers
Ex: law enforcement to provide information about life in America
Something to think about is funding for classes and the fact that individuals may work long hours and cannot attend these classes
Bilingual teacher/aids, interpreters, and counselors
Bilingual classes: half of the class in taught in Spanish, while the second half is taught in English
San Diego
Anxiety when communicating in a different language:
less willing to provide information
hesitant to ask questions
less likely to give adequate self-descriptions of themselves/problems
less likely to accurately interpret information from the professional
*With all this information taken into account, individual with low English proficiency (LEP) report having poorer health satisfaction, and less knowledge about available services = less likely to seek help and more likely to receive lower quality care
(Guntzviller, Jensen, King, & Davis, 2011)
Lost in Translation
Because of LEP individuals often communicate with professionals by:
their own limited abilities
the professionals limited Spanish abilities
family member's English and Spanish abilities
Possible Results:
taken too seriously
not taken seriously enough
no diagnosis at all
(Clutter & Nieto, Ohio State University)
(Guntzviller, Jensen, King, & Davis, 2011)
High FLCA:
less accuracy in translation
lower comprehension
lower language performance
increased difficulty with vocabulary
increased difficulty describing themselves
lower final course grades compared with students with moderate or low anxiety
(Guntzviller, Jensen, King, & Davis, 2011) &
This barrier can sometimes result in youth experiencing feelings of displacement or not belonging = high school student are more likely to join gangs and some drop out by the age of 16
Parents experience:
regret when they cannon help their children with homework (partly because the kids know more English than the parents)
feelings of helplessness
Children tend to learn English faster than their parents creating a generational imbalance of power and control in the family.
have to rely on their children to translate/communicate
they cannot exclude their children from conversations
causes an imbalance of authority
affects the hierarchical power structure
breaches respect and privacy
(Miranda et al., 2006)
(Ojeda & Pina-Watson, 2013)
The American Heritage Dictionary (2000) defines machismo as “A strong or exaggerated sense of masculinity stressing attributes such as physical courage, virility, domination of women, and aggressiveness” (pp. 1341)

Has roots in religion and Latino female identity formation.
Originates from the admiration for the virtues of the Virgin Mary.
Implies women’s spiritual superiority over men
Miranda et. al (2006)

Acculturation may contribute to gender roles changing.

For example, increases the way in which a Latino woman exercises self-sufficiency and independence. Latino man may perceive this as a threat to his position within and authority over family. –Miranda et al (2006)

“Role Reversals” Occurs when children of immigrants know the language and parents have to rely on the children to translate.
Parent/Child Role Reversal
Parents may begin to mistrust children navigating better in U.S. than than parents.
Parent/child conflicts significantly less likely where both natural parents at home and with parents or siblings readily availale to offer help with homework
Among females – more likely to occur in families where the mother was less educated and where economic well-being was perceived as having worsened
Where children felt embarrassed by parents and had nobody to help with homework at home
Who experienced discrimination or perceived themselves as being discriminated against
Zhou (1997)

(Garret, 2006)
(Garret, 2006)
Leaving citizen children behind due to Deportation
Compromiso (commitment)
Respeto (respect)
Confianza (trust)
Dignidad (dignity)
Flexibility in time schedules
Sensitivity to tardiness and cancellation
Therapy must be accessible

Therapeutic constructs
Constructs that emphasize on individualism and personal responsibility may not be culturally sensitive.
Fast and tangible treatment approach
May be concerned with survival in dealing with daily crises.
Exploring personality dynamics or to take a historical approach to the problem may become frustrating for Latino clients who seek quick services.

Client- Therapist Relationship
Value strong intimate relationships
Latino/ Hispanic may hope to know about therapist’s family life because of their high importance on family.
They value self-disclosure as a way of showing care and building a relationship and a therapeutic alliance.
Personalismo (being personable)
Latino’s value warmth –
If therapist is cold therapist not likely to come back
Latino’s value professionalism and may refer to therapist as “Doctor”
"speak to when spoken to" attitude
may avoid direct eye contact

B. Cardona (2012)
Proposed Study
Does group therapy for low-income immigrant Latinos help lower distress levels caused by the acculturation gap for both parents and children?
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