Machismo sustains health and illness beliefs of Mexican American men

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Abstract

Purpose:

To inform nurse practitioners (NPs) about Mexican American men’s health and illness beliefs and the ways in which these are influenced by their masculine identity and how they view themselves as men in their culture.

Data sources:

The data sources used were based on a selected review of the literature about Mexican American men’s health and illness beliefs and the concept of machismo. Several studies, including the author’s study on Mexican American men’s healthcare-seeking beliefs and behaviors and experience in providing primary health care to men across cultures, contributed new data.

Conclusions:

The meaning of manhood in the Mexican American culture is critical in understanding how men perceive health and illness and what they do when they are ill. Machismo enhances men’s awareness of their health because they have to be healthy to be good fathers, husbands, brothers, sons, workers, and community members. Pain and disability are motivating factors in finding ways to regain their health.

Implications for Practice:

Men’s health beliefs across cultures need further investigation by nurse researchers and NPs. How culture influences healthcare delivery to men should be better understood. If NPs are aware of men’s views on masculinity, they are better prepared to understand and assist men in becoming more aware of their health status and to seek health care when appropriate.

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