- Hispanics/Latinos are the largest minority cultural group, while Mexicans form the largest socio-cultural group among the Hispanic/Latino constituency (Pineda, n.d.)
- Their history spans around 500 years
- Harsh colonial experiences, quest for a better life, and political instability were key to migrating to the US.
- In both groups, extended family is the main source of identity and protection.
- Collectivist/group-oriented values are predominant in both (Cultural insights, n.d.)
- In both groups, respect, politeness, and kindness are highly valued (Carteret, n.d.)
- Nursing implication – professionals need to develop an approach that incorporates the values of family, collectivism, and respect in delivering care to these groups.
- Both groups are very close to the spirit world.
- Both groups are influenced by a belief in destiny.
- Both groups emphasize religious tradition.
- Nursing implication – interventions should respond appropriately to the normative worldviews to deconstruct the negative philosophies of life using culturally-sensitive information (Lemley & Spies, 2015)
Language and Communication
- In both groups, “Spanish is a key marker of social, personal, and political identity” (Cultural insights, n.d., p. 3)
- Most Hispanics/Latinos speak English; however, Mexicans demonstrate hardship in communicating in English than other socio-cultural groups.
- “In nonverbal communication, maintaining eye contact can be interpreted by Mexicans as a challenge or intimidation” (Cultural insights, n.d., p. 17)
- Nursing implication – be sensitive to language and consider using culturally-sensitive bilingual health messages when communicating to patients of Mexican descent (Lemley & Spies, 2015)
Art and other Expressive Forms
- Murals and religious artifacts are used to communicate emotions in both groups.
- Mexicans use religious artifacts (e.g., Holy Cross and pictures of Virgin Mary) more than other Latino socio-cultural groups.
- Nursing implication – emphasize cultural sensitivity when designing interventions as some artworks may be interpreted negatively in Mexican heritage (Lemley & Spies, 2015)
Norms and Values
- Both groups are not time conscious, hence patients often show up late for appointments (Carteret, n.d.)
- Both groups do not expect orderly processes in healthcare contexts.
- “Hispanic social norms emphasize the importance of communication (verbal and nonverbal) in interpersonal relationships” (Cultural insights, n.d., p. 17).
- In both groups, food must be accompanied by herbs and other natural remedies.
- Low rates of smoking/illicit drug use in both groups
- Low rates of early sexual activity in both groups
- Low levels of alcohol use in both groups
- In both groups, trust is built around family and friends.
- In both groups, mutual dependence and undying loyalty are prevalent in relationships.
- Both groups demonstrate an unwillingness to self-disclose (Lemley & Spies, 2015)
- Nursing implication – professionals must solicit opinions from family members and friends to gain the trust and confidence of patients in both groups
- In both groups, religion is a way of life.
- Both groups express a belief that a person cannot alter fate.
- Latinos believe diseases are caused by natural/supernatural events; however, Mexicans believe envy (envidia) causes illness/bad luck (Cultural insights, n.d.)
- Nursing implication – using culturally-sensitive interventions to challenge these rituals is effective in increasing uptake of healthcare services (Carteret, n.d.)
Assimilation of Marginalization
- In both groups, the focus is on acculturation.
- Acculturation stress has led to higher levels of alcohol/drug use among Mexican adolescents than in the general Latino/Hispanic population (Marsiglia, Nagashi, Parsai, Booth, & Castro, 2014)
- In both groups, acculturation is leading to the breakdown of the family structure.
- Nursing implication – healthcare interventions must take into account the levels of acculturation and resultant challenges, particularly among adolescents of Mexican heritage (Marsiglia et al., 2014)
Health Behaviors and Practices
- Both groups show take traditional food and herbs to cure disease.
- Low immunization rates documented in both groups (Lemley & Spies, 2015)
- Hispanics/Latinos have the highest uninsured rates in America, at 32%; the uninsured rate of individuals of Mexican heritage is 34.7%
- Individuals in both groups are reluctant to visit primary care physicians.
Carteret, M. (n.d.). Cultural values of Latino patients and families. Web.
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Lemley, M., & Spies, L.A. (2015). Traditional beliefs and practices among Mexican American immigrants with type II diabetes: A case study. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 27, 185-189. Web.
Marsiglia, F.F., Nagashi, J.L., Parsai, M., Booth, J.M., & Castro, F.G. (2014). The parent-child acculturation gap, parental monitoring, and substance use in Mexican heritage adolescents in Mexican neighborhoods of the Southwest U.S. Journal of Community Psychology, 42,530-543. Web.
Pineda, A.M. (n.d.). The history and experience of Latinos/Hispanics in the United States. Web.