Cultural Influences Of Mexican American Culture

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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 & (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. Understanding the ethno-cultural attitudes of an individual or community shared values, behaviors and beliefs makes us appreciate importance of these characteristics to life experiences (Yolanda & Griselda, 2006). With this in mind, it is essential for the nurses understand significance influence of cultural values rooted in patients’ health behaviors.
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(Alvarado, 2008). Many attributes and practices of this culture is not view as incompatible with modern medical practices but used as alternative therapy. One of the most important Mexican American cultural practices that influence health care is called “curanderismo” or folk-healing. Several research studies shows that Mexican American culture used these practices consistently with conventional medicine, but tends to settle for modern medicine if illness is chronic or serious (Padilla & Villabolas, 2007). Apart from folk medicine, Mexican American culture also have set of beliefs or rituals that is believed to have calming effects on health (Nall & Speilberg, 1967). Illness view as punishment, but there are some other traditional beliefs considered as cause of illness. This beliefs include, “empacho” intestinal blockage, “mal ojo” the evil eye, and “susto” fright (Alvarado, 2008). “Empacho” (Intestinal blockage) is refer as Empacho is an “acute digestive distress caused by a complex interaction between social and psychological forces, such as eating against one’s will or disliking a food dish” (Saobralske, 2006). These symptoms of indigestion is perceived to be related to trapped undigested food in the digestive tract. Mal Ojo is a Mexican America traditional beliefs holds that merely admiring or looking a child with “evil eye” or thought can cause illness, lead to bad luck and death, if intervention is not provided. (Alvarado, 2008). Folk curer must be consulted to remove “evil eye” or direct the individual thought to have caused the illness to touch or care for the child (Padilla & Villabolas, 2007). Susto refer to an illness caused by exposure to frightening situation (Alvarado, 2008). Wide range of symptoms include insomnia, diarrhea, involuntary muscle tics perceived to occur secondary to “loss of soul from the body after

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