Marianismo and Caregiving Role Beliefs Among U.S.-Born and Immigrant Mexican Women

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We aimed to explore how women of Mexican-origin conceptualized caregiving as a construct in terms of cultural beliefs, social norms, role functioning, and familial obligations. We examined the personal experiences of U.S-born and immigrant Mexican female caregivers to identify how these 2 groups differed in their views of the caregiver role.


We conducted 1-time in-depth interviews with 44 caregivers living in Southern California. Our study was guided by marianismo , a traditional role occupied by women in the Mexican family. We analyzed data from a grounded theory approach involving the constant comparative method to refine and categorize the data.


The majority of all caregivers had similar views about caregiving as an undertaking by choice, and almost all caregivers engaged in self-sacrificing actions to fulfill the marianismo role. Despite these similarities, U.S.-born and immigrant caregivers used different words to describe the same concepts or assigned different meanings to other key aspects of caregiving, suggesting that these 2 groups had different underlying motivations for caregiving and orientations to the role.


Our findings highlight the complexity of language and culture in underlying caregiving concepts, making the concepts challenging to operationalize and define in a heterogeneous sample of Latinos.

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