Encyclopedia of Immigrant Health

2012 Edition
| Editors: Sana Loue, Martha Sajatovic


  • Rosalyn Negrón
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-5659-0_659

Among Hispanics, respeto (respect) refers to a way of relating to others that acknowledges differences in social status. These differences include age, gender, socioeconomic class, and occupation. While respeto often entails deferential treatment toward a higher status person, as a cultural ideal in Hispanic communities, respeto is a necessary quality of many social encounters. Therefore, while respeto may require that a lower status person defer to the actions and wishes of a higher status person, respeto compels people to behave in ways that protect the dignity of participants in an interaction, regardless of their social position. Given this, politeness and discretion are important ways to express respeto in social interactions.

Traditional Hispanic cultural expectations dictate that women defer to men, youth to elders, employees to employers, and children to parents. Between individuals of equal status, respetomay be expected in first-time meetings or in acquaintanceships where...

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Suggested Readings

  1. de Paula, T., Laganá, K., & Gonzalez-Ramirez, L. (2001). Mexican Americans. In J. G. Lipson, S. L. Dibble, & P. A. Minarik (Eds.), Culture & nursing care: A pocket guide. San Francisco: University of California San Francisco Press.Google Scholar
  2. Flores, G. (2000). Culture and the patient-physician relationship: Achieving cultural competency in health care. The Journal of Pediatrics, 136, 14–23.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Garcia, W. (1996). Respeto: A Mexican base for interpersonal relationships. In W. B. Gudykunst, S. Ting-Toomey, & T. Nishida (Eds.), Communication in personal relationships across cultures. Thousands Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Ho, M. K. (1992). Minority children and adolescent in therapy. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Lauria, A. (1964). Respeto, relajo and interpersonal relationships in Puerto Rico. Anthropological Quarterly, 37, 53–67.Google Scholar

Suggested Resources

  1. National Alliance for Hispanic Health. (2001). Quality health services for Hispanics: The cultural competency component. Retrieved May 10, 2001, from http://www.hrsa.gov/CulturalCompetence/servicesforhispanics.pdf

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosalyn Negrón
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of Massachusetts-BostonBostonUSA