Hispanic, Latino Americans and Mexican Heritage Culture

Brief History

  • 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).

Lifestyle Characteristics

  • 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

Relationship Patterns

  • 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

Common Rituals

  • 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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Cultural insights: Communicating with Hispanics/Latinos. (n.d.). Web.

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.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, April 11). Hispanic, Latino Americans and Mexican Heritage Culture. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/hispanic-latino-americans-and-mexican-heritage-culture/

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"Hispanic, Latino Americans and Mexican Heritage Culture." StudyCorgi, 11 Apr. 2021, studycorgi.com/hispanic-latino-americans-and-mexican-heritage-culture/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Hispanic, Latino Americans and Mexican Heritage Culture." April 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/hispanic-latino-americans-and-mexican-heritage-culture/.


StudyCorgi. "Hispanic, Latino Americans and Mexican Heritage Culture." April 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/hispanic-latino-americans-and-mexican-heritage-culture/.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Hispanic, Latino Americans and Mexican Heritage Culture." April 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/hispanic-latino-americans-and-mexican-heritage-culture/.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Hispanic, Latino Americans and Mexican Heritage Culture'. 11 April.

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