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

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Abstract

Objectives:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Discussion:

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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