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Traditional personality theories do not consider the impact of culture on personality development. Yet, to provide culturally relevant services to the increasing Hispanic population in the U.S., more culturally relevant theories must be identified. This paper presents Relational Cultural Theory (RCT) as an alternative model to understanding Hispanic values and personality development. The RCT concepts ofmu-tuality, connections, growth-fostering relationships, “five good things,” power over, and self-boundaries are used to describe how Hispanic values can be viewed in a more culturally relevant way. A vignette shows how clinicians can use RCT as an alternative model to provide more effective treatment in their work with Hispanic populations.
Hispanic Culture
and Relational Cultural Theory
Elizabeth Ruiz, PhD
ABSTRACT. Traditional personality theories do not consider the im
pact of culture on personality development. Yet, to provide culturally
relevant services to the increasing Hispanic population in the U.S., more
culturally relevant theories must be identified. This paper presents Rela
tional Cultural Theory (RCT) as an alternative model to understanding
Hispanic values and personality development. The RCT concepts of mu-
tuality, connections, growth-fostering relationships, “five good things,”
power over, and self-boundaries are used to describe how Hispanic val-
ues can be viewed in a more culturally relevant way. A vignette shows
how clinicians can use RCT as an alternative model to provide more ef-
fective treatment in their work with Hispanic populations.
[Article cop-
ies available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-
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KEYWORDS. Hispanics, personality, culture, relational cultural the
ory, treatment
Elizabeth Ruiz, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology, Governors State Uni
versity, and a licensed clinical psychologist in part-time private practice. She special
izes in cultural issues, therapy with children and families, trauma, as well as clinical
consultation in sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Address correspondence to: Elizabeth Ruiz, PhD, Governors State University, Di
vision of Psychology & Counseling, University Park, IL 60466.
Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, Vol. 1(1) 2005
Available online at
2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1300/J456v01n01_05 33
Most personality theorists have not considered the impact of culture
on personality development. Theorists, such as Freud and Skinner, ap
plied their theories universally to all individuals, regardless of cultural
background, religion, or gender. The United States and Western Euro
pean perspectives dominated personality theory. More recently, how
ever, the study of personality is focusing more attention on cultural
influences. An increasingly diverse population in the West and techno
logically based cross cultural contact fuels this attention.
The Hispanic culture is one of the fastest growing cultural groups in
the United States. The U.S. Census data indicates that Hispanics will be
the largest minority group by the year 2050 (U.S. Bureau of the Census,
1992). In providing mental health services to such a large segment of
the population, mental health professionals have begun to recognize
that traditional theories are not culturally relevant (Bauer, 1998; Santi-
ago-Rivera, 1995). Yet, more culturally relevant theories that describe
the experience of one of the fastest growing populations in North
America have not been identified.
Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT), often referred to as the Stone
Center relational model, offers a broader perspective of development
that addresses the experience of individuals from diverse back-
grounds (Jordan, Kaplan, Miller, Stiver, & Surrey, 1991; Jordan,
1997). RCT was originally developed as an alternative description of
women’s psychological development, when compared to traditional
theories (Miller, 1976). Nonetheless, it is increasingly being applied
to understand individuals, both male and female, from other cultures
and backgrounds (Desai, 1999; Jordan, 1997; Walker, 1999, 2001). Al-
though previous works have applied RCT to the experiences of His
panic women within a clinical context (McCrae, 2000; Perilla,
Bakeman, & Norris, 1994; Zimmerman & Zayas, 1995), no one has ap
plied RCT to describe personality development among the Hispanic
populations. This paper summarizes how RCT can be used to under
stand cultural factors that can have an impact on personality develop
ment among Hispanic individuals.
Indeed, Hispanics are a heterogeneous group, comprised of people
from various countries, races, and historical and political backgrounds.
Like any group, there is a wide breadth and range of educational, socio-
economic, and professional representations of Hispanics within the
larger U.S. culture. At the same time, many share common beliefs re
garding family, shared connections, and the community. Such beliefs
will be the focus of this paper. Before describing how RCT can be ap
plied to Hispanic personality development, a brief review of the basic
RCT concepts is offered.
Jean Baker Miller and her colleagues, Judith Jordan, Irene Stiver, and
Jan Surrey, developed RCT at the Stone Center of Wellesley College to
describe women’s psychological experiences (Miller, 1976; Jordan et
al., 1991). This model differs from the traditional paradigm with its em
phasis or individuation and separation in development, instead empha
sizing connectedness to others through growth-fostering relationships.
They maintain that traditional theories pathologize women’s abilities to
develop and maintain interdependent relationships. These theories are
seen as based on a Western, male-oriented view of society that values
independence, autonomy, competition, and individual achievement.
Rather than pathologize women’s relational skills, Miller and her col-
leagues suggested that they be viewed as a strength that serves to foster
growth in society as whole.
One of the integral aspects of RCT is the idea of mutuality, which in-
cludes the concepts of mutual empathy and mutual empowerment (Jor-
dan et al., 1991). Mutual empathy goes beyond feeling what someone
else is feeling, as conveyed by the traditional concept of empathy.
Rather, mutual empathy is a two-way process where each individual
shares what she or he feels in response to the other’s feelings. This pro-
cess, which involves both cognitive and affective aspects, allows both
individuals to move forward in their understanding of their own
thoughts and feelings. Mutual empowerment grows out of mutual em-
pathy in that each person takes in the other’s response to his or her
thoughts and feelings and is able to grow from the exchange, enabling
action. The result is a “transcendence of the self” (p. 82), in which one
sees oneself as part of a larger unit, and one’s own needs do not super
sede those of the other. Moreover, individuals recognize that they have
an impact on each other.
When an individual responds with mutual empathy toward another,
growth occurs for both individuals in five ways. Miller (1986) describes
these as the “five good things”:
1. “Zest” is the increased energy both individuals feel as a result of
their connection.
Elizabeth Ruiz 35
2. Action occurs as both individuals feel empowered and changed as
a result of their mutual interactions.
3. Knowledge is the result of both individuals learning more about
each other and about themselves.
4. Sense of worth in each individual increases from having had an
other acknowledge his or her experience.
5. Desire for more connection with others grows in each individual
as a result of having had a positive connection.
When others do not respond in a mutually empathic and empowering
way to an individual’s attempt to connect, however, disconnections oc
cur (Miller, 1988). Although disconnections can occur often, they do
not always result in long-term consequences for the individual. In fact,
disconnections can lead to growth in relationships when others learn to
respond empathically in an individual’s subsequent attempts to recon-
nect. Nonetheless, repeated disconnections can lead individuals to feel
psychologically isolated, doubting the possibility of making future con-
nections. RCT refers to this experience as “condemned isolation”
(Miller, 1988). Psychological problems then result, as individuals feel
shame and powerlessness in their failed attempts to connect to others.
Their psychological functioning also suffers as they learn to keep valu-
able aspects of their experience out of relationships. RCT describes this
process as the “central relational paradox” (Miller & Stiver, 1997).
One type of disconnection is particularly relevant for those outside
the dominant culture. This type of disconnection results when one
individual or dominant group exerts “power over” another. As Miller
and Stiver (1997) explain, the relational oppression that results from
power over dynamics leads to disconnections, including disconnections
between men and women in patriarchal societies. Thus, it serves to
further complicate the relationships between men and women from
nondominant cultures who have already been historically oppressed be
cause of race, ethnicity, class, or religion.
Jordan et al. (1991) reconceptualized the concept of self-boundaries,
a concept that was developed and heavily influenced by traditional the
ories. They described how, in traditional theories, the term self-bound
aries refers to an individual’s separateness from others, which develops
as an individual becomes more autonomous and self-sufficient. Individ
uals who have a tendency to develop relationships that are “too close”
are viewed as being neurotic. The relationships they develop with oth
ers are seen as “enmeshed” and unhealthy. In contrast, Jordan (1989)
proposes that the ability to lose separateness from another is a necessary
component of effective empathy. In essence, one cannot feel what an
other feels unless one is able to lose himself or herself in the other’s ex
perience. RCT recognizes, then, flexibility in self-boundaries, rather
than the ability to maintain a rigid separate self, as a necessary condition
for the development of connectedness and relationships.
In eschewing the traditional paradigm to describe personality devel
opment among women, RCT resonates with cross-cultural theories that
were originally developed from an anthropological view to describe dif
ferent behavioral norms in non-Western cultures (Benedict, 1934;
Hallowell, 1934; Sapir, 1932). Cross-cultural theories also suggest that
Western views that value independence and autonomy do not capture
the experience of individuals from non-Western collectivistic societies
where the emphasis is on the group, not the individual. As RCT is con-
sistent with cross-cultural theories of development, it would be helpful
to use it as an alternative way of describing personality development in
Hispanic culture. Hispanic culture is collectivistic, and as a result, there
are a number of cultural factors and values that are better understood by
using RCT.
Cultural Values and Scripts
Cultural values and scripts play an important role in shaping thoughts
and behaviors. Many Hispanic individuals value collectivism, simpatia
(smooth, pleasant relationships), personalismo (individualized self-
worth), respeto (respect), and familismo (familialism or familism). Be-
cause these concepts do not translate well into English (even the word
“respect” takes on a stronger flavor in Spanish), the Spanish word is
typically used when referring to them in English.
As noted above, Hispanics come to the United States from collect
ivistic cultures, which contrast with the individualistic culture of the
United States. Collectivistic cultures view their accomplishments as
being dependent on the outcome of others. Rather than encourage
competition and individual achievement, interdependence and group
collaboration is valued as a way for the entire group to benefit and
grow. Work with others, including authority figures, emphasizes coop
Elizabeth Ruiz 37
eration, rather than competition (Kagan, 1984). Consequently, the
needs, goals, views, and beliefs of the group are emphasized over those
of the individual (Hofstede, 1980). Moreover, positive social interac
tions that promote connection and avoid direct conflict are encouraged.
As such, a person in authority who does not understand the cultural
value of collectivism could exploit the good will of the person who pro
jects such good will onto the authority figure. This would result in dis
connection and confusion for the person with less power.
One can apply RCT to describe collectivism in terms of the emphasis
on remaining connected to others. Hispanic and other collectivistic cul
tures are encouraged to develop and maintain harmonious relationships.
By forming and maintaining connections, individuals grow within the
context of their relationships, rather than at their expense. Individuals
see the benefit of collaborating with others, without the benefit of quid
pro quo. There is an inherent value in relating to others and recognition
that individuals are equally invested in the group. In addition, there is an
aspect of mutuality to this process because individuals know others will
be attuned to their needs as well (Garcia-Preto, 1996a). As a result,
individuals recognize that they have an impact on each other.
Collectivism goes even a step further than being cooperative with
others. For example, individuals are encouraged to sacrifice their needs
at times for the good of the group. Traditional theories typically view
self-sacrifice in this context as unhealthy. In RCT terms, however, the
willingness to sacrifice one’s needs for the good of the group can be
viewed as a flexibility in boundaries that allows one to transcend one-
self and recognize others’ needs as important and, at times, more impor-
tant than one’s own. Because there is an appreciation for the sacrifice
others make for the group, and the mutual sense that others will do the
same, the feeling of being taken advantage of by others is generally
Triandis, Marín, Lisanksy, and Betancourt (1984) described simpatia
as “a permanent personal quality where an individual is perceived as
likeable, attractive, fun to be with, and easy-going” (p. 1,363). The per
son’s ability to maintain harmonious, positive relationships is particu
larly valued. It is understood that a person with simpatia empathizes
with others’ feelings, and therefore, treats others with dignity and
Part of the concept of simpatia relates to the value Hispanics place on
positive social behaviors. These include loyalty and dignity toward oth
ers and admiration for others’ accomplishments (Forst & Lehman,
1997). Negative behaviors, such as criticizing, confronting, speaking to
others in a demeaning manner, or bossing others around, are strongly
An important value within the Hispanic culture is the appreciation of
the uniqueness of each individual and the qualities that give a person a
sense of worth. This value is linked to the importance of a person’s dig-
nity and respect for authority (Garcia-Preto, 1996a). In addition,
personalismo reflects the value Hispanics place on personal contact and
social interactions (Bernal & Shapiro, 1996). Personalismo has evolved
out of the poor socioeconomic situations in which many Hispanics have
lived for centuries. By focusing on a person’s inner qualities, this value
allows a person to experience self-worth regardless of his or her
material wealth (Garcia-Preto, 1996b).
Being respected by others, particularly by authority figures, is highly
valued (Forst & Lehman, 1997). With regard to parents, children are ex-
pected to show a sense of respect and duty (Falicov, 1996). Tradition-
ally, adolescents are not expected to rebel as they are in Western
cultures (Bulcroft, Carmody, & Bulcroft, 1996). Rather, they are taught
to be more mindful of their responsibilities to their families and society.
Though many cultures value family relationships, many Hispanics
emphasize and place a priority on family relationships (Forst &
Lehman, 1997). Some identify strongly with and attach to their nuclear
and extended families. Furthermore, for many, family relationships in
volve a strong sense of loyalty, solidarity, and reciprocity that is re
flected in three ways: (1) feeling obliged to provide for the material and
emotional support of family members; (2) relying on family for help
and support; and (3) viewing family members as role models of behav
iors and attitudes (Marín & Marín, 1991). The concept of the “familial
self,” initially described to understand Asian cultures (Roland, 1988),
Elizabeth Ruiz 39
has been used to describe the dedication to family among many
Hispanics (Falicov, 1996).
Each of the five concepts described above share some common un
derlying themes. These include the emphasis on relationships, loyalty, a
sense of harmony and dignity, as well as respect for individuals, regard
less of their status in society. RCT provides a helpful framework for un
derstanding the development of these values in Hispanic cultures. RCT
also emphasizes relationships and the value of developing and main
taining growth-fostering relationships. Individuals who develop char
acteristics of simpatia, personalismo, positive social behaviors, and
familismo have qualities that facilitate the development of growth-fos
tering connections with others. Because these qualities emphasize the
values of being empathic and having respect and dignity toward others,
individuals with these qualities have the capacity to form mutually em-
pathic relationships. Moreover, emphasizing the value of harmony in
relationships and reciprocity in families encourages mutual empathy
and mutual empowerment in relationships. Individuals recognize that
they depend on, join with, and impact each other.
In addition, the emphasis on qualities of harmony, self-worth, dig-
nity, and respect parallels the “five good things” that comprise mutual
empowerment. In essence, individuals are encouraged to develop quali-
ties that will result in “zest,” action, knowledge, sense of worth, and a
desire for more connection. Those who are able to join authentically
with others and maintain their self-worth and dignity are admired. Con-
nections with these individuals are desired, as they leave one feeling en-
riched by the interaction. Furthermore, because Hispanic cultures have
a shared history of colonial oppression and hierarchical structures that
can result in disconnection, the characteristics of simpatia and
personalismo allow for those who traditionally do not have the opportu-
nity to develop mutuality in relationships (namely those with lower so
cial and economic status) to have that opportunity. Authority figures,
which are traditionally higher in social status, are encouraged to be re
spectful of their subordinates. In this way, individuals with desirable
personal qualities can overcome the disconnections that typically result
when one is not privileged in society.
Conversely, unconstructive characteristics, such as being critical, de
meaning, or hostile toward others, are strongly discouraged. The term
mala gente,” or “bad people,” is used to refer to individuals who be
have in harmful ways toward others. Examples of these behaviors in
clude being rude, harshly critical, disrespectful, self-serving, and
untrustworthy. One is taught to stay away from mala gente because it is
understood that one can only be hurt through relationships with such in
dividuals. In contrast, to refer to someone as buena gente,” or “good
people,” conveys the idea that an individual is giving, trustworthy, reli
able, and committed in their relationships toward others. In RCT terms,
connections with hurtful individuals are discouraged while connections
with mutually empathic individuals are encouraged.
There are three gender-specific scripts that are also part of the tradi
tional Hispanic experience. These include marianismo (female self-sac-
rifice), hembrismo (femaleness), and machismo (male self-respect and
A mother’s self-sacrifice for her children is admired (Santiago-
Rivera, 1995). This traditional value is derived from a strong Catholic
belief in the Virgin Mary that views women as being more capable of
enduring suffering than men because of their superior morality and spir-
ituality. As a good Hispanic woman, she should be submissive, reli-
gious, modest, and humble (Falicov, 1998). Also implied in this value is
the expectation that a woman will suppress and sublimate her sexual de-
sires (Garcia-Preto, 1996b). As a result, this value has implications for a
woman’s socializing behavior outside of the home. Family members
expect unmarried women to restrict their contact with males outside of
the family (Gillin, 1960). If any woman repeatedly socializes with a
male without the prospect of marriage, she is considered immoral and
risks ostracism from respectable circles (Allen, Amason, & Holmes,
This lesser known female script refers to the strength, perseverance,
courage, and ability to survive that Hispanic women show when they
overcome seemingly insurmountable odds and hardships (Falicov,
1998; Garcia-Preto, 1996b). Although the script is adaptive in nature for
most Hispanic women, hembrismo can be a difficult script to balance
with the more socially acceptable, traditional marianista script.
Elizabeth Ruiz 41
The male head of the household is responsible for ensuring that his
family is cared for and protected. Rather than the negative, stereo
typical view Westerners have that describes machismo as being sex
ist, the Hispanic view of machismo emphasizes the male’s use of
strength and power to protect and care for others (Forst & Lehman,
1997; Gabrielidis, Stephan, Ybarra, & Dos Santos Pearson, 1997).
Although these cultural scripts have positive aspects in that both encour
age men and women to serve the needs of their families, they include nega
tive aspects as well, particularly when the scripts are taken to their extreme.
Women can be subjugated and encouraged to endure suffering at the hands
of abusive men, whereas men benefit from their privileged, more powerful
status in society. Moreover, similar to Western societies, women carry the
burden for nurturing and developing connections to others. Consequently,
in many ways, disconnections occur through power over dynamics in
similar ways that the Stone Center group has previously described in West-
ern, dominant cultures (Jordan et al., 1991; Miller, 1976; Miller & Stiver,
1997). As traditional patriarchal societies, however, Hispanic cultures are par-
ticularly vulnerable to power over dynamics when marianismo, hembrismo,
and machismo are taken to extremes. Yet, to limit our understanding of the im-
pact of power over dynamics in Hispanic cultures to gender alone would be
neglecting a number of other important factors.
More recently, women of color and Third World feminists have argued
that a more complex analysis of gender dynamics is needed (Perilla, J.,
1999; Perilla, J., Frndak, K., Lillard, D., & East, E., 2003). They main-
tain that an ecological framework that includes political, social, histori-
cal, cultural, institutional, and individual factors is needed to better
understand the imbalance of power between individuals. Others have
noted that immigrant status is a critical factor in understanding gender-
based violence (Raj & Silverman, 2002). Miller and Stiver (1997) ob
served that the multiple layers of oppression experienced by some
women, due to classism, racism, and sexism further complicate rela
tionships and create “major” disconnections between them and others.
A framework that includes these factors would be particularly helpful to
understand the power dynamics in Hispanic cultures as well.
Sociopolitical Factors
Historically, Hispanic cultures around the world have endured centu
ries of colonization, oppression, and political persecution that have re
sulted in racism, classism, and sexism in their countries of origin. In
addition, religion in the form of the Roman Catholic Church, imposed
by colonizers on native cultures to function as an arm of the state
(Meyer & Sherman, 1991), contributed to the rigid, stereotypic gender
role of traditional Hispanic cultures (Perilla, 1999). As a result, power
over dynamics in Hispanic cultures are complicated by the hierarchical
control that resulted from centuries of oppression, religious and politi
cal persecution, and striking economic disparities. Although Spanish
colonizers are no longer in power, many Hispanic cultures experience
ongoing oppression, political persecution, and poverty (Smith, 2004).
Consequently, individuals who are lower in the social hierarchy and
have fewer resources are more vulnerable to feelings of marginalization
and alienation. The repeated disconnections they experience, then, may
lead to “condemned isolation” within their own culture.
Immigration Factors
Hispanic cultures in the United States face additional factors that
contribute to power over dynamics. Immigration status and level of ac-
culturation, or the extent to which an immigrant adopts his or her new
country’s values and customs (Mendoza, 1984) add additional levels of
complexity to relationships at many societal levels.
The very act of immigration, even in the most favorable of circum-
stances, generates a number of physical, social, and cultural disruptions
as individuals uproot themselves from their own culture and try to adapt
to a new one (Falicov, 1998). These disruptions result in major discon-
nections for immigrants as they try to find their way in an individualis
tic, self-sufficient, competitive society where relational connections are
not easily valued.
The gender roles of marianismo, hembrismo, and machismo can be
come exaggerated in this new, unfamiliar social context and taken to
their extremes, resulting in further disconnections between partners
who already may be feeling disconnected in their new homeland. Some
immigrant parents, fearful and uncomfortable in their new country, try
to rigidly impose traditional values on their children, who tend to be
more acculturated (Falicov, 1998). This dynamic can result in discon
nections between parents and their children and threatens family stabil
The RCT concept of power over, then, is helpful for understanding
the complexities of disconnections that affect Hispanic cultures. In ad
dition to the gender-based power over dynamics, also evident in North
Elizabeth Ruiz 43
American cultures, disconnections in Hispanic cultures also involve
sociopolitical factors of colonization, oppression, political persecution,
religious influence, immigration status, and level of acculturation.
To better illustrate the complexities of disconnections among His
panics, and how RCT can be used to work with Hispanic clients, it
would be helpful to present the case of Ana. Ana, a Hispanic woman in
her thirties, presented for therapy with symptoms of depression.
Trained as an attorney at a prestigious midwestern university, Ana was
born and raised in the United States. Her mother, a traditional home-
maker, was from Argentina, and her father, a semi-skilled laborer, was
from Mexico. Yet, no one would guess Ana’s Hispanic heritage by
looking at her. She was light-skinned, had delicate European features,
and she dressed very much like a successful attorney. She spoke perfect
English, with no trace of a Spanish accent. Even her Italian-sounding
last name, which I later learned was her ex-husband’s name, success-
fully veiled any Hispanic roots. On the surface, it seemed that Ana was
quite removed from any ethnic values that would be relevant in her
treatment. She seemed like any other successful, female American
attorney presenting with symptoms of depression.
When Ana presented for therapy, she described being depressed and
confused about her current relationship. About a year ago, Ana had met
a man that she loved and hoped to marry. They had decided to live to-
gether, with plans to marry in the near future. She noted that her rela-
tionship with Paul, who was of German and Scottish descent, was the
best relationship she had ever had. Ana described the first few months
of living together as wonderful. More recently, however, Ana said she
was becoming increasingly unhappy with Paul. She described feeling
neglected because Paul spent too much time on his business, and as a re
sult, he did not have time to spend with her. He often missed family get-
togethers with Ana’s family, citing business engagements as the reason.
Also, Ana noted that Paul made flippant, insensitive remarks when she
had asked him when they would become engaged. She would respond
by becoming silent, angry, and hostile. As a result of these interactions,
Ana began to question whether she should stay with Paul.
At work, Ana noted that she related to colleagues on a pleasant, but
superficial level. When she had tight deadlines to meet on a big case,
Ana said that she could not count on colleagues for help because they
were too competitive and tended to look out for themselves. Similarly,
Ana said that she had never had many close friendships. She described
dreading whenever she and Paul went out to dinner with another couple
because she anticipated that the girlfriend would judge her superficially.
She stated that she had talked very little at these dinners and could not
wait for the evenings to end, even though she later felt badly because
she was being “antisocial.” In sum, Ana felt that she had very few peo
ple outside of her family who really knew or understood her, and she felt
that she had even fewer people on whom she could count for any type of
Largely because she felt she had little support, Ana said that she rec
ognized she needed help managing her depression. Although no one in
Ana’s family had ever tried psychotherapy, Ana said that she hoped
talking to someone would help her feel better.
Using RCT with Ana
One could easily rely on traditional theories for Ana’s treatment. A
clinician could comfortably pathologize several aspects of Ana’s life:
(a) her family of origin, which could mistakenly be viewed as en-
meshed, (b) Ana’s difficulty with asking colleagues for help, which
could be seen as a lack of assertiveness, and (c) her apparent inability to
develop relationships, which could be attributed to a number of factors
that ignore her familial and cultural upbringing.
Using RCT in a framework that includes race/ethnicity and socio-
political factors, however, a clinician could better understand the rela-
tional images that Ana has internalized, and the repeated disconnections
that she has experienced as a Hispanic female with traditional, immi-
grant parents. A step-by-step approach will be described to illustrate
how RCT can be applied to Ana’s case. Clinicians working with His
panic clients can use each step as a beginning point for understanding
the complexity of these clients’ experiences:
Step 1: Examining the Role of Hispanic Cultural Values
in the Client’s Experience
Clinicians must be careful about assuming that they already know the
role that traditional values and scripts play in their clients experiences.
In Ana’s case, for example, cultural values and scripts did not seem rele
vant, as she appeared highly acculturated. Further exploration, how
Elizabeth Ruiz 45
ever, revealed internalized cultural relational images that continued to
affect her relationships.
Ana’s family was traditional. As traditional parents, Ana’s mother
and father raised Ana with the values and scripts of their native coun
tries. Ana’s relationship with Paul, then, raised issues related to her in
ternalized images of familismo, marianismo, and machismo. Her
parents had strongly disapproved of her decision to move in with Paul,
as only “women who did not expect to marry” lived with men openly.
As a result, Ana felt shame over her continued living arrangement with
Paul. The casual comments he had made when she had asked about be
coming engaged only deepened her sense of shame, for it seemed that
Paul was not willing to marry her, as her parents had predicted. As it
was, Ana still struggled with the shame she felt over her first failed mar-
riage. Although her parents recognized that Ana’s ex-husband treated
her harshly, Ana still felt that, as the wife, she had failed to maintain a
viable marriage, bringing shame to her family. After all, she had dis-
rupted the harmony of her entire family by divorcing.
In addition to not understanding her need for commitment, Paul also
did not understand the closeness and allegiance Ana had for her family.
His family lived in a number of neighboring states and visited with each
other once or twice a year. Consequently, he complained that the get-
togethers with Ana’s family were too frequent. He told Ana that her
family reunited “for no good reason,” so he did not understand why his
missing a number of get-togethers for business reasons seemed so up-
setting for her. He also complained that Ana’s family was meddlesome,
for they were constantly calling or stopping over without advance no-
tice. For Ana, who grew up with familismo, family gatherings and regu
lar contact with her family were very important. Though she attended
family gatherings without Paul, and she welcomed her family’s im-
promptu visits, she felt guilty that Paul was unable to attend and that he
seemed inattentive and rude when her family visited. For her part, Ana
did not understand Paul’s “obsession” with his business. She explained
that, as a traditional husband and father, her father worked hard to sup
port the family, but he always found time to spend with them as well, as
machismo prescribed.
Other Hispanic values played a role in Ana’s experience as well. Al
though on the surface Ana appeared very much like any successful fe
male attorney, she felt confused when the values she had learned from
her parents conflicted with the socialized values she had developed to
be “successful.” Ana recalled how, as a child, her parents had scolded
her and her siblings anytime they were competitive. She remembered
being told that brothers and sisters should help each other, not fight one
another, even if it meant one had to give up something for the good of
the other. At school, however, Ana had learned that achieving the high
est grades and earning the most awards pleased her teachers as well as
her parents, who were the most important authority figures in Ana’s
life. If she wanted to attend college someday, as her parents strongly
encouraged, she learned that she had to compete with other students to
get the scholarships that she needed, and to gain admission to the best
By the time Ana entered the work world as an adult, her ability to
compete had enabled her to be “successful.” At the same time, she felt
hurt whenever she asked colleagues for help, and they told her that they
were too busy with their own cases. Further, she did not understand
when some colleagues tried to make other colleagues look bad to their
superiors as means of seeking promotion or advancement in their ca-
reers. When working on cases together with other colleagues, she noted
that some seemed more interested in making themselves look good,
rather than helping the entire team win the case. To Ana, these behav-
iors seemed selfish and cold-hearted. As a result, she said she could not
trust colleagues who seemed friendly to her, for they might end up hurt-
ing her if she allowed greater closeness. She also described feeling disil-
lusioned with superiors who seemed to reward these types of behaviors,
and she did not understand why hardworking colleagues who showed
integrity in their work were not as valued. In general, Ana described
feeling that she did not “belong” at work. She stated that she often won-
dered if she would feel more comfortable in a profession that was less
Her career also placed her at odds with the values of marianismo.
On one hand, Ana felt she had worked hard to overcome a number of
barriers that impeded other Hispanic women from establishing suc
cessful careers. Her resilience, as reflected in the value of hembrismo,
had served her well. Yet, she described feeling some confusion about
her more modern, “American” role. The aggressive, competitive na
ture of her job and the emphasis on winning at all costs made her won
der whether she had her priorities all wrong. She saw more traditional
Hispanic women focusing on raising families and maintaining well-run
households. She questioned whether she was missing out on a way of
life that was more in sync with her values, though she recognized that
she would not be happy living a completely traditional lifestyle either.
Elizabeth Ruiz 47
Step 2: Exploring Relevant Sociopolitical Factors
for This Hispanic Client
It is essential to assess to what degree sociopolitical factors impact
the client’s experience, though none may be obvious at the outset of
therapy. Again, superficially, Ana seemed economically successful,
highly acculturated, and she was born a United States citizen. A cli
nician could be lulled into thinking that the sociopolitical factors im
pacting Ana’s life were no different than they would be for any
mainstream woman in the United States. There are a couple of factors,
though, that should be taken into consideration to better understand
Ana’s experience.
As noted previously, Ana is the child of parents who immigrated to
the United States as adults. Consequently, as with immigrants of any
culture, they maintained their traditional values and instilled them in
their children. As devout Catholics, they also instilled respect for the
teachings of the Catholic Church and its hierarchy. As a result, even
though Ana had acculturated in external ways that helped her to blend in
with her peers in the mainstream culture, she had internalized cultural
values that often contradicted United States values.
Further, as a child of parents who had emigrated to escape economic
difficulties in their native countries, Ana was motivated to achieve the
life that her parents envisioned for their children in this new land. At
times, this pressure to succeed for her family seemed a heavy burden. At
the same time, she saw how other Hispanic families remained mired in
low-paying jobs and crime-ridden neighborhoods. She knew that edu-
cation was the best way to avoid that fate.
In some ways, Ana’s experience as a first generation American is
similar to that of any child of immigrant parents, regardless of the cul-
ture. In other ways, though, her experience was uniquely Hispanic. Be
cause her parents maintained constant contact with their families in
Mexico and Argentina, Ana’s level of acculturation was heavily influ
enced by continuous exposure to Hispanic culture in a way that is diffi
cult for immigrants from other cultures to maintain. As a child, Ana ate
Mexican or Argentinean food daily, listened to Spanish music, and at
tended religious services given in Spanish at the local church. The com
munity where Ana was raised was predominantly Hispanic and
Spanish-speaking. Moreover, Ana was completely bilingual. She spoke
only Spanish at home with her parents and English at school, and there
fore, her thoughts and emotions were influenced by her ability to switch
between two languages (Padilla & Lindholm, 1984). Finally, she had
visited both Mexico and Argentina a number of times. These visits gave
her a sense of pride in her heritage as well as a sense of guilt when she
saw how people struggled economically compared to her life in the
United States.
Step 3: Understanding Cultural and Sociopolitical
Factors Affecting Client’s Disconnection
Ana grew up with a number of internalized relational images that af
fected her relationships. She was raised to be a “good” daughter, sib
ling, student, wife/partner, colleague, and employee. Traditional
Hispanic values and scripts, however, heavily influenced her internal-
ized images of what “good” was. The values of familismo, collectivism,
marianismo, hembrismo, and respect for authority and hierarchy led her
to believe that she could develop relationships with others that were
based in shared senses of harmony, reciprocity, self-worth, and respect.
In RCT terms, she was primed to develop mutually empathic relation-
ships that would result in the “five good things.” Yet, exposure to the
dominant culture taught her that she needed to be autonomous, individ-
ualistic, competitive, and aggressive to be “successful.” Consequently,
Ana was often confused about how to reconcile the conflicting images
that she had internalized.
To cope, Ana learned to keep important aspects of herself out of
relationships. When she was at school, and later, at college, law
school, and work, she learned not to show the more collectivistic,
less autonomous side of herself. She learned to dress, speak, and be-
have in ways that made her blend in so that she could develop connec
tions within the dominant culture. Luckily, as Ana saw it, her outside
appearance helped. Having a less mestizo, more European appearance
made her more acceptable to those in the dominant culture who might
otherwise guess her Hispanic heritage, and treat her with disrespect,
condescension, and stereotypical attitudes. Unfortunately, the strategies
for disconnection that Ana developed prevented her from developing
authentic relationships with friends, colleagues, and partners. More
over, the strategies she developed to stay in connection with the domi
nant culture were resulting in disconnections with her own cultural
values, her Hispanic “self,” her family, and her community. As a result,
Ana was suffering from the central relational paradox. She yearned for
connections with individuals from both cultures, so she felt that she had
to constantly alter herself in hopes that others would accept her. Yet, de
spite her efforts, Ana was depressed because she did not feel completely
Elizabeth Ruiz 49
accepted or connected to members of either culture, and she blamed
herself for getting it all wrong.
Step 4: Fostering Mutually Empowering Relationships
That Respect Cultural Experiences
Jordan’s (1989) concept of self-empathy offers a helpful framework
for working with Hispanic clients. Ana has internalized shame, guilt,
self-blame, and unexpressed anger for not feeling completely accepted
in either culture. A therapist can help Ana feel empathy for her experi
ences. In describing her experiences to another, Ana can gain apprecia
tion for how she has learned to survive in a society that values
individualism, competition, and self-sufficiency. By honoring the strat-
egies that Ana has developed to stay in connection, the therapist is offer-
ing an empathic understanding to counter the negative images that Ana
has of others as being not understanding, superficially judging, or self-
ish and hurtful. She can also come to better appreciate, and reconnect to,
the cultural values with which she was raised, instead of feeling a sense
of shame engendered by life in a dominant culture that does not value
differences. The following exchange illustrates how a therapist can join
with Ana and experience empathy for her as she reflects on her
experiences in the “cold” environments of college and law school:
Ana: Looking back on it now, I don’t know how I did it. I guess I
just had to. What choice did I have? Quit because people weren’t
Therapist: You felt you didn’t have a choice but to ignore the part
of you that needed some support.
Ana: People didn’t even smile and greet you when you walked
down the hall at school. Even that would have made a difference. It
would have seemed a bit warmer. But everyone was too wrapped
up in their [sic] own little world.
Therapist: How lonely you must have felt. People didn’t see how
important being pleasant can be, the way you learned it is. Yet, you
couldn’t stop to feel how angry you were about it either.
Developing self-empathy can also help Ana realize that the conflict
ing relational images she had internalized are neither completely His
panic nor of the dominant culture. They are different from the images
her parents and the dominant culture instilled in her. Rather, she can un
derstand these images as unique hybrids that reflect her bicultural
By entering into a relationship where the therapist joins with Ana in
genuine curiosity about the complexity of her experience, the therapist
can help Ana explore her thoughts and feelings in ways that others have
not. It must be acknowledged, however, that any therapist, regardless of
cultural background, has internalized some degree of the values pro
moted by the dominant culture (Miller & Stiver, 1997). Consequently,
working with Ana requires a therapist to be open, and to allow her/him
to be impacted by the process, thereby “stretching” her/his worldview.
Seeing her therapist moved and changed by her account, Ana can
experience a mutually empathic relationship:
Ana: There are some days when I feel so schizophrenic. I go
through the workday thinking and talking in English and making
small talk the way Americans do. I feel so American. Then I go to
my parents’ house for dinner, and I can’t remember the Spanish
word for “salt.” And I feel bad that I can’t remember. I must sound
crazy to you.
Therapist: You’re wondering whether I can understand your expe-
rience. After all, I’m not Hispanic or Spanish-speaking.
Ana: Well, yes.
Therapist: It’s true. I don’t know what it’s like to be bilingual. But
when you talk about it, I feel connected to the confusion you expe-
rience as you navigate two cultures daily. I’m learning how chal
lenging it is to adapt to the different situations you face.
Experiencing a growth-fostering relationship with her therapist, Ana
can begin to see the possibility of developing authentic connections
with others as well. Just as Ana’s therapist can appreciate her differ
ences, Ana can learn that others, though seemingly different from her,
can also appreciate her. In this way, Ana may discover that she does not
have to keep parts of herself out of relation to develop and maintain con
nections. Further, apart from developing relationships that appreciate
and honor her Hispanic experience, Ana may come to recognize that
there are universal values that transcend culture and that allow connec
Elizabeth Ruiz 51
tions between those who are culturally different. Those who value co
operation and peaceful co-existence, for example, can be found in most
every culture. Developing relationships with others who share these
universal values can help Ana expand her possibilities for new
Traditional Hispanic cultural values contrast dramatically with those
of Western cultures. Western values emphasize individualism, compe
tition, and the material wealth these values produce more than interper
sonal relationships. Moreover, the West encourages less reliance on the
family. Parents strive to have their children separate, individuate, and
become autonomous. Traditional personality theories embody these
values, even though they are not consistent with those of Hispanic cul-
tures. As a result, traditional theories may result in misunderstanding,
misdiagnosing, and ineffectively treating individuals from traditional
Hispanic cultures. This paper presented RCT as an alternative model for
understanding Hispanic values, thereby broadening the perspective of
traditional theories to more accurately describe the Hispanic experi-
ence. The RCT concepts of mutuality, connections, growth-fostering
relationships, “five good things,” and self-boundaries were used to de-
scribe how Hispanic values can be viewed in a more culturally relevant,
sensitive way. Consequently, RCT can be used as a way of
reconceptualizing traditional views that tend to pathologize Hispanic
culture. In addition, the power over concept is useful in understanding
the complexity of disconnections that affect Hispanic cultures, both at
the societal and family level.
The vignette presented illustrates how clinicians working with His
panics can use RCT as an alternative model that helps them better ap
preciate disconnections that Hispanics experience. Although culturally
primed for connection, Hispanics must learn to navigate their way in a
society that does not value relational connections in the same way. Four
steps were outlined in the vignette to help clinicians understand the
complexities of their Hispanic clients’ experiences and to suggest possi
ble interventions. By using RCT clinicians can more effectively meet
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RECEIVED: 11/08/04
REVISED: 12/27/04
ACCEPTED: 01/26/05
Elizabeth Ruiz 55
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... 3). Furthermore, Latinx encompass varied backgrounds related to educational attainment, career aspiration and involvement, and socio-economic levels (Ruiz, 2005; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, 2021). Although Latinx may have some differences, the value placed on family and community has remained consistent (Ruiz, 2005;Torrecilla & Hernández-Castilla, 2020). ...
... Furthermore, Latinx encompass varied backgrounds related to educational attainment, career aspiration and involvement, and socio-economic levels (Ruiz, 2005; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health, 2021). Although Latinx may have some differences, the value placed on family and community has remained consistent (Ruiz, 2005;Torrecilla & Hernández-Castilla, 2020). ...
... Latinx parents/caregivers often face barriers (i.e., lack of language and work flexibility) which prevent them from attending school events and cause low parental involvement (Betters-Bubon & Schulz, 2018;Olivos & Mendoza, 2010). Additionally, limited communication between the school and Latinx families builds a sense of frustration with all parties involved (Loveland, 2018;Reaves et al., 2022;Ruiz, 2005;Torrecilla & Hernández-Castilla, 2020;Villalba et al., 2007). ...
School counselors who incorporate Relational Cultural Theory (RCT) constructs initiate building connections and meaningful change. Relationships anchored on RCT theory provide school counselors a myriad of opportunities to build relationships and partnerships with Latinx parents and caregivers in support of student success in the K-12 school setting. The authors of this article provide a framework based on RCT to facilitate school counselor and Latinx parent and caregiver partnerships.
... One statement generated by the project team to express concepts discussed by informants in the qualitative portion of the investigation and three statements from the Pearlin Mastery Scale (Pearlin, Lieberman, Menaghan & Millan, 1981) address uncertainty and predetermined events, a fatalistic outlook (Scott, 2001). This concept was included based on comments made in interviews and focus groups and because collectivist cultures, like the various Hispanic cultures (Ruiz, 2005), also exhibit fatalism (Diaz, Blanco, Bajo & Stavraki, 2015;Unger et al, 2002). ...
... Respect for authority, in families (Galanti, 2003), relationships (Ramirez-Esparza, Gosling, and Pennebaker, 2008), and society (Ruiz, 2005), as a part of Hispanic culture is well documented and has been for decades (Matos, 2015;Triandis, Marin, Betancourt, Lisansky & Chang, 1982) and is represented in the Latino Familism Scale developed in 2003. Response patterns for three questions from the familism instrument that were part of the 2019 student survey addressed Hispanic student orientation to authority. ...
... For example, Hispanics spend markedly greater time with household family than non-Hispanics. This pattern may be a consequence of Hispanic attitudinal and behavioral familism (Cahill, Updegraff, Causadias, & Korous, 2021;Ruiz, 2005;Sabogal, Marín, Otero-Sabogal, Marín, & Perez-Stable, 1987). Perhaps, family relationships are more salubrious for women, whereas men may benefit more from time spent with friends. ...
Full-text available
Social connectedness is essential for health and longevity, while isolation exacts a heavy toll on individuals and society. We present U.S. social connectedness magnitudes and trends as target phenomena to inform calls for policy-based approaches to promote social health. Using the 2003–2020 American Time Use Survey, this study finds that, nationally, social isolation increased, social engagement with family, friends, and ‘others’ (roommates, neighbors, acquaintances, coworkers, clients, etc.) decreased, and companionship (shared leisure and recreation) decreased. Joinpoint analysis showed that the pandemic exacerbated upward trends in social isolation and downward trends in non-household family, friends, and ‘others’ social engagement. However, household family social engagement and companionship showed signs of progressive decline years prior to the pandemic, at a pace not eclipsed by the pandemic. Work hours emerged as a structural constraint to social engagement. Sub-groups allocated social engagement differently across different relationship roles. Social engagement with friends, others, and in companionship plummeted for young Americans. Black Americans experienced more social isolation and less social engagement, overall, relative to other races. Hispanics experienced much less social isolation than non-Hispanics. Older adults spent more time in social isolation, but also relatively more time in companionship. Women spent more time with family while men spent more time with friends and in companionship. And, men's social connectedness decline was steeper than for women. Finally, low-income Americans are more socially engaged with ‘others’ than those with higher income. We discuss potential avenues of future research and policy initiatives that emerge from our findings.
... For the past twenty years, I have studied Latinx professionals, investigating their experiences in the workplace, such as 'navigating the cultural divide' and career outcomes (Blancero & Cotton-Nessler, 2017;Cruz & Blancero, 2016). Latinx cultural values often contrast with those reflected in Corporate America (Anastasia & Bridges, 2015;Cruz & Blancero, 2016;Ruiz, 2005). This results in many Latinx professionals experiencing stress and isolation when they feel unable to be their full selves at work. ...
Women faculty of color endure gendered racial (intersectional) trauma in the workplace that often results in posttraumatic stress symptoms (e.g., cognitive intrusions and avoidance) and poor work outcomes. However, organizational interventions often place the onus on the worker to alleviate such deleterious stressors rather than eradicating its discriminatory practices on a systemic level. Oppressive and psychological injurious practices toward women of color in academe include isolation from academic networks, epistemological exclusion, and invisible labor. Facing both sexism and racism, women faculty of color are also uniquely ascribed stereotyped gendered racial roles (e.g., Strong Black Woman and lotus blossom) and are more sexually harassed and objectified than White women and men of all races and ethnicities. Such harmful encounters elicit trauma-induced safety checking coping behaviors that prioritizes the needs of the dominant group over that of their own. A multilevel trauma-informed approach, however, could attenuate the psychological demands of the worker and generate accountability at organizational and management levels. As such, this symposium will highlight the use of intersectionality theory and the public health intervention model (primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions) as an integrated framework to cultivate trauma informed organizations, thereby mitigating re-traumatization and promoting the well-being and career advancement of women faculty of color.
... As gendered roles in various cultures differ, it is important to consider the gender-specific scripts traditionally found within families. In traditional Latinx families, studies have shown women typically take the caregiving role in the family (Ruiz, 2005) and that family health decisions typically fall under this role (Martinez, Rhee, Blanco, & Boutelle, 2017;Morales-Campos, Markham, Peskin, & Fernandez, 2013). Although Latinx adolescents have higher rates of HPV vaccination than adolescents of other races/ethnicities (Walker et al., 2019), there are differences in vaccine uptake and acceptability between U.S.-born and immigrant families, with some researchers finding that acceptance rates were higher among those living in the United States the longest (Kepka, Ding, Bodson, Warner, & Mooney, 2015). ...
Objective: Racial and ethnic disparities persist in cervical cancer cases, 90% of which are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Suboptimal vaccine uptake is problematic, particularly among Latinx women, who have the highest cervical cancer incidence compared with other racial/ethnic groups. We examined the association of self-efficacy and HPV vaccination intention among Latinx immigrant mothers of unvaccinated 9- to 12-year-old girls. Methods: An interview-administered survey assessed baseline sociodemographic information, knowledge and perceived risk of cervical cancer and HPV, self-efficacy, and intention to vaccinate among 313 Latinx immigrant mothers in Alabama from 2013 to 2017 before the implementation of an intervention to promote HPV vaccination. Results: Participants were, on average, 35 years old, with 9 years of education, and had lived in the United States for 12 years. Mothers who perceived their daughters were at risk of HPV infection were more likely to be vaccine intent than their hesitant counterparts (p < .001). Vaccine hesitancy was more common in those with lower education, low HPV and cervical cancer knowledge, and lower perceived self-efficacy scores (p < .001). Self-efficacy was associated with vaccine intention when controlling for other variables (p < .001). The only variable associated with self-efficacy was HPV awareness (p ¼ .001). Conclusions: Programs promoting HPV vaccination among Latinx immigrants should include educational components regarding risks of HPV infection and cervical cancers in addition to information regarding access to vaccination services. Knowledge of risks and access may heighten perceptions of self-efficacy and improve vaccine uptake among this population.
... American, which emphasizes needs and goals of the group over those of the individual, would characterize a 25 stronger support in alleviating the negative psychological consequences of the pandemic [14]. Additionally, 26 also the geographical differences in personality traits, which may be affected by social, genetic and 27 ecological influences, may encourage more resilient traits [15,16]. ...
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Background The aim of the present study was to evaluate the psychological well-being (PWB) during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in workers of a multinational company. Methods Employees (aged ≥ 18 years) were recruited from Latin American, North American, New Zealand and European sites of a multinational company operative during all the pandemic period. The self-reported Psychological General Well Being Index (PGWBI) was employed to assess the global PWB and the effects on 6 sub-domains: anxiety, depressed mood, positive well-being, self-control, general health and vitality. The influencing role of age, gender, geographical location, COVID-19 epidemiology, and restrictive measures adopted to control the pandemic was explored. Results A total of 1335 workers completed the survey. The aggregate median PWB global score was in a positive range, with significantly better outcomes detected in the Mexican and Colombian Latin American sites compared to the other worldwide countries (p<0.001). Among the European locations, a significantly higher PWB score was determined in Spain compared to the German and French sites (p<0.05). Comparable geographical trends were demonstrated for all the PWB sub-domains. Male workers had a significantly better PWB compared to females (p<0.05), while a negative correlation emerged with aging (p=0.01). COVID-19 epidemiology and pandemic control measures had no clear effects on PWB. Conclusions Monitoring PWB and the impact of individual and pandemic-related variables may be helpful to clarify the mental health effects of pandemic, define targeted psychological-supporting measures, also in the workplace, in order to face such a complex situation in a more constructive way.
In previous chapters, it was suggested that the documentaries aired by the PBS program POV tended to approach migration as a phenomenon with universal, group, and individual planes of experience. To put this hypothesis to the test, the present chapter delves into the universal experience of motherhood, as lived by Latinx migrants and as translated from the real to the reel in two POV documentaries: Our House in Havana (Olsson, 2000) and My American Girls: A Dominican Story (Matthews, 2001). In order to capture the essence of these films’ discourses on migrant mothers, the chapter holds their content up to the light of established literature on motherhood. More specifically, the chapter argues that Stephen Olsson and Aaron Matthews paint the picture of two mothers who cannot seem to find a middle ground between their children’s newly adopted American belief system and their own Latinx norms and values. Slowly but surely, these migrant mothers transform before the documentary makers’ lens, as they discover that prioritizing their own happiness can be more selfless than their previous self-abnegation.
This chapter presents culturally and gender-responsive recommendations for service providers that aim to effect change for Latina youth who are at risk or currently involved in the juvenile justice system. One distinct challenge faced by service organizations that are committed to research-driven practices is the frequent disconnect between research-based resource guides and direct care work. This chapter bridges research and practice by highlighting a process adopted by Southwest Key Programs to train program staff on the Mi Hermana’s Keeper Toolkit, a resource developed from the findings of a community-based participatory research project. The chapter connects the work of researchers to the needs of service providers.
In an effort to systematize and organize an exploration of alternate cultural paradigms from a Latinx perspective, the membership of the National Latinx Psychological Association was surveyed via its electronic mailing list in successive rounds. The first invitation asked members to identify alternate cultural paradigms they use in their work or are familiar with; a definition of alternate cultural paradigms and some examples were provided. Responses were summarized and redistributed to the entire list, seeking further input. This process was followed a total of four times. The range of contributions extended from journal articles, to books, to authors, individuals, and movements. The compiled responses were then analyzed using qualitative methodology in the form of thematic analysis. The resulting taxonomy addresses the promotion of health and wellness in Latinx communities through the use of alternate cultural paradigms, and culturally adapted treatments and interventions. The former is made of examples and sources that emphasize combatting oppression and inequities as well as the use of cultural traditions, norms, and specific values. Though not identified as exemplary of alternate cultural paradigms, the latter refers to evidence-based or widely used treatments that have been modified (i.e., adapted) in an effort to improve service efficacy with Latinxs.
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Objectives Show with a case report how psychiatric pathology may face differential diagnosis problems when sociocultural aspects are involved. Methods and materials Seventy-three year old man, born in Colombia. During the last two months, he had come many times to the emergency service due to behavioural changes. He does not have previous psychiatric history. His daughter refers that one of the patient's sisters has been diagnosed of “mystical madness”. The previous days he abandoned his medical treatment saying that he “gets in touch with his wife and that he wants to meet her”. Since his wife's dead, he had presented an excessively adapted behaviour, without grief symptoms. The first hospitalization day he said we wanted to get married with one of his daughters, with a sexual content speech, being able to get emotional when he spoke about his dead wife. Now the patient is under frequent reviews, and it is thought the differential diagnosis of depression with psychotic symptoms, due to the lack of symptoms remission. Conclusion Whenever we face different psychiatric diagnosis we don’t keep in mind some sociocultural factors, which could be masked and raise different doubts. It is important to keep in mind that each country or ethnical have their own cultural habits which are going to deeply influence patient's personality.
Using data from the first wave of the NSFH, this article examines differences between Anglo, African American, and Hispanic parents in independence giving to adolescents. Hypotheses are developed and tested based on the assumption that the parenting behaviors of minority group parents are shaped by unique patterns of adaptation derived from cultural origins in interaction with the conditions of minority group status and assimilation. Results show distinct patterns of independence giving across racial groups by gender and age of the adolescent. Differences from Anglos are attributed to values of modified patriarchy and communalism among African Americans and values of patriarchy and familism among Hispanics.