Mexican American Response To Health: A Cultural Analysis

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In a culturally diverse country like the United States, healthcare professionals such as nurses will work with people of different cultural backgrounds who have different view of health and illness. Mcgoldrick, Giordano & Preto (2006) concluded that a sense of well-being in terms of physical and mental health within a societal context is strongly affected by cultural identity. Shared values, behaviors, beliefs and ethno-cultural attitudes of a community influence life experiences and decision we make (Yolanda & Griselda, 2006). With this in mind, it is essential for the nurses recognize the importance patients’ cultural values rooted in their health seeking behaviors. Culture Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines culture as a…show more content…
There is a lot of misinterpretation about health, illness and culture, and attempt to clarify these concept using culture is compared to “resting on unexamined foundation” (Padilla & Villalobos, 2006). Barrio & Kay (1977*) explained that physical health, environment and mental wellbeing are fundamental understanding of health among Mexican American. This culture is also characterized by set of values which include family, spirituality/religiosity, folk medicine and respect (Padilla & Villalobos, 2006). Religious beliefs are deeply rooted in Mexican American culture, and guides individual understanding of health and illness (Alvarado, 2008). Alvarado (2008) found that the majority of Mexican American identified themselves as a Christian, especially Roman Catholicism. Strong spirituality influence a belief that health and illness is determined by God. Having good health is viewed as being as good luck or being rewarded (Giger & Davidhizar, 2004*), while Illness is viewed as a punishment from God for bad behaviors (Alvarado, 2008). Although, spirituality is a coping mechanism used to maintain or reestablish emotional equilibrium during difficult times, many Mexican Americans may delay seeking or accepting medical interventions, especially when spiritual beliefs or rituals must be strictly observed (Nall & Spielberg, 1967). For this reason, it is crucial for nurses to seek clarification on how religion/spirituality may interfere with care and how this belief can positively or negatively impact health

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