Friday, August 29, 2008 12:00 pm

Values, Beliefs and Norms of the Mexican Family

Where we came from and where we are going

The study of the values, norms and believes of a social group is what gets us closest to understanding everyday life and its effects on health and well being. Thus, in order to help any individual or group, it is imperative grasp the historic and cultural context of that group. The Mexican family historic-psycho-socio-cultural premises are common statements that indicate the when, where, why, how and with whom to commence and maintain interpersonal relationships (Diaz Guerrero, 1993).

The central norms and values of the traditional Hispanic family stress the importance of close extended family relationships, the central role of children in marriage, the strict roles of males as respected providers and females as trustworthy abnegate mothers, and the need for children’s absolute obedience in exchange for parental love and protection. With migration, a person confronts different cultural contexts, and an acculturation process takes place (Berry, 1980), that implicates a reconstruction of meaning and behavioral patterns.

As one could imagine, the family interactions of Hispanics in the United States are delimited both by the traditional socio-cultural values and believes, and the acculturation processes they have undertaken. Among other things, with acculturation children learn English faster than adults, producing profound changes in the family power structure; females move from a traditional mother role to a dual work-education and mother role, looking for more egalitarian gender relationships; males tend to maintain traditional norms longer and are many times confused by the lack of hierarchical respect they get from children and wife; the large extended family is put on a bind by these new more individualistic perspectives.

In general, individual growth, rights and productivity are enhanced while close family relationships are diminished. The challenge becomes how to create culturally sensitive programs that interweave the strengths of creativity of the brave new world with those of patience of our ancestors.

Sponsored by Public Strategies and the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative

About the Speaker

Rolando Diaz-LovingRolando Díaz-Loving is a Professor of Psychology and Head of the Psychosocial Research Unit at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Dr. Díaz-Loving is one of the most eminent social psychologists in Mexico and Latin America.

He has received the Social Sciences Award from the Mexican Academy of Sciences, the Interamerican Psychologist Award from the Interamerican Society of Psychology, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Texas at Austin, the Ruben Ardila Award for accomplishments in Psychological Research, The National University Award for Research in Social Sciences and the Mexican Psychology Award from the National Counsel for the Teaching and Research in Psychology.

He is past editor of the Revista de Psicología Social y Personalidad and the Revista de Investigacion Psicologica, author of over 100 research articles and chapters, of 9 research books and of 2 textbooks in social psychology, personality, and ethnopsychology, he is also de co-editor of ten volumes of La Psicologia Social en Mexico. Dr. Díaz-Loving has been an officer of many international psychological organizations such as the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, the Interamerican Psychological Society, and the Asociación Mexicana de Psicología Social. His main areas of research are couple and family relations, psychosocial factors related to HIV-AIDS, and culture and personality. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1981. Dr. Díaz-Loving is currently serving as the Senior Research Advisor to the National Hispanic Healthy Marriage Initiative.


The following lecture of Rolando Diaz-Loving, Ph.D. was recorded on Aug 29, 2008 as a part of the Practice and Policy Lecture series.

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Transcript Aug. 29, 2008 (57k .txt)

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