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J Transcult Nurs. 2003 Jul;14(3):180-5.

The Hispanic family and male-female relationships: an overview.

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Department of Anthropology, California State University, Los Angeles, USA.


An overview of the traditional Hispanic family and male-female relationships is presented, with an emphasis on issues relevant to providing health care to Hispanic populations. Aspects of the family presented include visitation, decision making, self-care, and emotional problems. Male-female relationships stem from traditional gender roles. Machismo and patriarchal authority characterize the male role; the roles of a traditional woman are housewife and mother. Women are expected to defer to the authority of their husbands. The negative aspects of machismo can result in heavy drinking and the pursuit of high-risk activities, leading to domestic violence and HIV/AIDS. These health risks are exacerbated by such cultural factors as male dominance, female modesty, and the practice of keeping problems within the family. The importance of personalism in patient-provider encounters is emphasized.

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