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ERIC Number: ED235944
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Pages: 39
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
The Mexican-American in the Health Care System.
Stambler, Moses
Mexican Americans differ from Anglo Americans in their types of health problems, relation to the American health care system, and responses to health care. Mexican Americans tend to underutilize available health resources because of fear of discrimination, perception of health workers as government representatives, and language and cultural factors. A relationship clearly exists between the health of Mexican Americans and certain demographic features: low income, little schooling, and ethnic segregation. Studies of mortality rates suggest that Mexican Americans share higher rates of poverty-related health problems with Blacks: rheumatic fever, pneumonia, influenza, and infant mortality. The Mexican American community provides its members with natural support systems: the extended family, folk healers, and religious institutions. Use of medical services is influenced by the cultural value placed on stoic endurance of bad health, and by folk theories of disease, folk remedies, and folk curers. Folk tradition attributes diseases to four causes: "hot and cold" imbalance in the diet, dislocation of internal organs, magical sources, and emotional states. Among Mexican Americans, illness is more likely to be attributed to social or environmental causes than to individual responsibility. Since Mexican Americans perceive the curer's role to be that of kind and understanding adviser, rather than efficient, clinical authoritarian, professional health/social workers should learn more about Mexican American culture to encourage use of social and health services. (MH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Folk Medicine