Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 145–162 | Cite as

Beyond familism?: Familism as explicit motive for eldercare among Mexican American caregivers

  • Robert John
  • Rosalva Resendiz
  • Linda W. de Vargas
Article

Abstract

This research explored eldercare among Mexican American primary family caregivers from Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas. Although these caregiversexpressed feelings of burden, their ethnocultural values of familism placedburden in a broader cultural context in which caregiving was also viewed asan affirmation and fulfillment of core Mexican American cultural values.Mexican American familism includes expressions of family solidarity,ethnocultural determinants of informal caregiving, distrust of culturallyalien institutions (particularly nursing homes), and a desire to care forthe elderly within the family context regardless of the personal cost orconsequences. In contrast to recent research, these findings suggest thatit is premature to dismiss familism as a continuing and central influence inthe lives of Mexican American family caregivers.

Mexican American Familism Caregiving Urban 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Albrecht, T.L., Johnson, G.M. & Walther, J. (1993). Understanding communication processes in focus groups. In D.L. Morgan (ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art(pp. 51–64). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  2. Baca Zinn, M. (1979). Chicano family research: Conceptual distortion and alternative directions, Journal of Ethnic Studies7: 59–71.Google Scholar
  3. Barduhn, M., Furman, L., Kinney M. & Malritz, D. (1991). Using focus groups in gerontological research, Gerontology & Geriatrics Education12: 69–78.Google Scholar
  4. Becerra, R.M. (1983). The MexicanAmerican: Aging in a changing culture. In R.L. McNeely & J.L. Colen (eds.), Aging in minority groups(pp. 108–118). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Cantor, M.H. (1979). The informal support system of NewYork’s inner city elderly: Is ethnicity a factor? In D.E. Gelfand & A.J. Kutzik (eds.), Ethnicity and aging: Theory, research and policy(pp. 153–174). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Cuellar, J.B. (1980). EI senior citizens’ club: The old Mexican American in the voluntary association. In B. Meyerhoff & A. Simic (eds.), Life’s career–aging(pp. 207–229). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Cuellar, J.B. (1990). Hispanic American aging: Geriatric education curriculum development for selected health professionals. In M.S. Harper (ed.), Minority aging: Essential curricula content for selected health and allied health professions(pp. 365–414). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  8. Dietz, T.L. (1995). Patterns of intergenerational assistance within the Mexican American family, Journal of Family Issues16: 344–356.Google Scholar
  9. Frey, J.H. & Fontana, A. (1993). The group interview in social research. In D. L. Morgan (ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art(pp. 20–34). Newbury Park CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Fuller, T.D., Edwards, J.N., Vorakitphokatorn, S. & Sermsri S. (1993). Using focus groups to adapt survey instruments to new populations: Experience from a developing country. In D.L. Morgan (ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art(pp. 89–104). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Griswold del Castillo, R. (1984). La Familia: Chicano families in the urban southwest 1848 to the present. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  12. Guarnaccia, P.J., Parra, P., Deschamps, A., Milstein, G. & Argiles, N. (1992). Si dios quiere: Hispanic families’ experiences of caring for a seriously mentally ill family member, Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry16: 187–217.Google Scholar
  13. Hall, P.A. (1987). Minority elder maltreatment: Ethnicity, gender, age, and poverty, Ethnicity and Gerontological Social Work9: 53–72.Google Scholar
  14. Hanson, S.L., Sauer, W.J. & Seelbach, W.C. (1983). Racial and cohort variations in filial responsibility norms, Gerontologist23: 626–630.Google Scholar
  15. Hines, P.M., Garcia-Prieto, N. McGoldrick, M., Almeida, R. & Weltman, S. (1992). Intergenerational relationships across cultures: Families in society, The Journal of Contemporary Human Services73: 323–338.Google Scholar
  16. Hogan, D.P., Eggebeen, D.J. & Clogg, C.C. (1993). The structure of intergenerational exchanges in American families, American Journal of Sociology98: 1428–1458.Google Scholar
  17. Jarrett, R.L. (1993). Focus groups interviewing with low-income minority populations: A research experience. In D.L. Morgan (ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art(pp. 184–201). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Keefe, S.E. (1984). Real and ideal extended familism among Mexican Americans and Anglo Americans: On the meaning of ‘close’ family ties, Human Organization43: 65–70.Google Scholar
  19. Korte, A.O. (1982). Social interaction and morale of Spanish-speaking rural and urban elderly, Journal of Gerontological Social Work4: 57–66.Google Scholar
  20. Knodel, J. (1993). The design and analysis of focus group studies: A practical approach. In D.L. Morgan (ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art(pp. 35–50). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Krueger, R.A. (1994). Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Lacayo, C.G (1980). A national study to assess the service needs of Hispanic elderly: Final report. Los Angeles, CA: Asociacion Nacional Pro Personas Mayores.Google Scholar
  23. Lacayo, C.G.(1992). Current trends in living arrangements and social environments among ethnic minority elderly. In E.P. Stanford & F.M. Torres-Gil (eds.), Diversity: New approaches to ethnic minority aging(pp. 81–89). New York: Baywood.Google Scholar
  24. Madsen, W. (1969). Mexican-Americans and Anglo-Americans: A comparative study of mental health in Texas. In S.C. Plog & R.B. Edgerton (eds.), Changing perspectives in mental illness(pp. 217–242). New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar
  25. Maldonado, D., Jr. (1979). Aging in the Chicano context. In D.E. Gelfand & A.J. Kutzik (eds.), Ethnicity and aging: Theory, research, and policy(pp. 175–183). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  26. Maldonado, D. (1985). The Hispanic elderly: A socio historical framework for public policy, The Journal of Applied Gerontology4: 18–27.Google Scholar
  27. Markides, K.S., Boldt, J.S. & Ray, L.A. (1986). Sources of helping and intergenerational solidarity: A three-generations study of Mexican-Americans, Journal of Gerontology41: 506–511.Google Scholar
  28. Markides, K.S. & Krause, N. (1986). Old Mexican Americans: Family relationships and well-being, Generations10: 31–34.Google Scholar
  29. Markides, K.S., Martin, H. & Gomez, E. (1983). Older Mexican Americans: A study in an urban barrio. Austin, TX: University Printing Division of the University of Texas at Austin.Google Scholar
  30. Martinez, M.Z. (1980). The Mexican-American family: A weakened support system? In E.P. Stanford (ed.), Minority aging: Policy issues for the ’80s(pp. 145–151). San Diego, CA: University Center on Aging.Google Scholar
  31. Mindel, C.H. (1980). Extended familism among urban Mexican Americans, Anglos, and Blacks, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences2: 21–34.Google Scholar
  32. Miranda, M. (1991). Mental health services and the Hispanic elderly. In M. Sotomayor (ed.), Empowering Hispanic families: A critical issue for the ’9Os(pp. 141–153). Milwaukee, WI: Family Service America.Google Scholar
  33. Morgan, D.L. & Krueger, R.A. (1993). When to use focus groups and why. In D.L. Morgan (ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art(pp. 3–19). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. O’Brien, K. (1993). Improving survey questionnaires through focus groups. In D.L. Morgan (ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art(pp. 105–117). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  35. Purdy, J.K. & Arguello, D. (1992). Hispanic familism in caretaking of older adults: Is it functional?, Journal of Gerontological Social Work19: 29–43.Google Scholar
  36. Rothman, J., Gant, L.M. & Hnat, S.A. (1985). Mexican-American family culture, Social Service Review59: 197–215.Google Scholar
  37. Starrett, R.A., Rogers, D. & Decker, J.T. (1992). The self-reliance behavior of the Hispanic elderly in comparison to their use of formal mental health networks, Clinical Gerontologist11: 157–169.Google Scholar
  38. Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Stewart, D.W. & Shamdasani, P.N. (1990). Focus groups: Theory and practice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  40. Wallace, S.P. & Facio, E.L. (1987). Moving beyond familism: Potential contributions of gerontological theory to studies of Chicano/Latino aging. In J.F. Gubrium & K. Charmaz (eds.), Aging, self, and community: A collection of readings(pp. 207–224). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  41. Winch, R. & Greer, S. (1968). Urbanism, ethnicity, and extended familism, Journal of Marriage and the Family30: 40–45.Google Scholar
  42. Wolff, B., Knodel, J. & Sittitrai, W. (1993). Focus groups and surveys as complementary research methods: A case example. In D.L. Morgan (ed.), Successful focus groups: Advancing the state of the art(pp. 118–136). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  43. Zarit, S.H., Reever, K.E. & Bach-Peterson, J. (1980). Relatives of the impaired elderly: Correlates of feelings of burden, Gerontologist20: 649–655.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert John
    • 1
  • Rosalva Resendiz
    • 1
  • Linda W. de Vargas
    • 1
  1. 1.Minority Aging Research InstituteUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

Personalised recommendations