Mexican American Children and Families : Multidisciplinary Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Mexican American Children and Families
Multidisciplinary Perspectives

ISBN 9780415854542
Published December 3, 2014 by Routledge
294 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Offering new insight on Mexican American culture and families, this book provides an interdisciplinary examination of this growing population. Contributors from psychology, education, health, and social science review recent quantitative and qualitative literature on Mexican Americans. Using current theories, the cultural, social, inter- and intra-personal experiences that contribute to the well-being and adjustment of Mexican Americans are examined. As such the book serves as a seminal guide to those interested in moving away from the dominant deficit model that characterizes the majority of the literature. To ensure consistency and accessibility, each chapter features an introduction, literature review, summary, future directions and challenges, policy implications, and references.  Contributors review current education and health care policies and research that impact this population with the hope of guiding the development of policies and interventions that support well-being and adjustment.

Highlights include a:

-Normative and strength based perspective on Mexican American families.

-Generational perspective that is common among Mexican American families.

-Multidisciplinary review of the values, beliefs, practices, identities, educational resilience, and physical and mental health issues for a deeper understanding of this growing population. 

-Focus specifically on Latinos of Mexican Origin with a highlight on the cultural, social, interpersonal, and intrapersonal experiences that contribute to well-being and adjustment.

-Empirically grounded resource to guide the development of public policy and intervention approaches that support the well-being of families of Mexican origin.

Part I provides an historical and demographic overview of Mexican Origin peoples in the US, the development of ethnic identity in these children, and theories for conducting research with this population. Part II highlights the family context in which Mexican-Origin children develop including characteristics that promote school readiness, values that promote successful co-parenting, and how Mexican American children learn by observing and pitching-in. The section concludes with a discussion of the concept of space and its role on the socialization of Mexican American children. The issues and challenges that Mexican American children face as they move through the US school system are examined in Part III. These chapters highlight the role that language development and bilingualism play in school success, the ways in which teachers can support the learning and development of these children, and the impact of parents’ involvement in children’s schooling.  Part IV examines mental health care systems including ways in which providers can improve participation and the quality of services, the factors that influence Mexican American parenting and the role these play in their children’s mental health, and the impact of acculturation and enculturation in the mental health of adolescents. Physical health is the focus of Part V.  Here the Hispanic Paradox, the occurrence of better health outcomes in immigrants compared to their U.S. born counterparts, is explored. These chapters attempt to disentangle the role that culture plays in the paradox, the benefits associated with traditional Mexican dietary practices and ways in which nutritionists can utilize these to promote healthier eating, informal health care practices that are traditional in the Mexican heritage and the factors that influence their usage, and the role of culture and behavior on physical health including maternal and infant health.  The book concludes with recommendations for future directions for research. 

Ideal for advanced students, researchers, policy makers, and practitioners in human development and family studies, psychology, sociology, social work, education, and community health interested in Mexican Americans, this book serves as an excellent resource in graduate or advanced undergraduate courses on Mexican American culture, (Latin) Mexican American/Chicano or cross-cultural studies, cross cultural development, diversity, or race and ethnicity. Knowledge of social science or developmental theory is not assumed.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Introduction 1. Who Are Mexican Americans: An Overview of History, Immigration, and Cultural Values Y.M. Caldera, P. Velez, E. Lindsey 2. What Does It Mean to Be Mexican American? Children’s and Adolescents’ Perspectives S.M. Quintana, T. Chavez, A.M. Ramírez Stege 3. Using Culturally Informed Theory to Study Mexican American Children and Families R. White, G. Knight, M. Roosa Part 2: Family Contexts 4. Mexican-American Children and School Readiness: An Ecological Perspective D. Aldoney, E. Karberg, J. Malin, N.J. Cabrera 5. Co-Parenting in Mexican American Intact Families E.W. Lindsey, Y.M. Caldera 6. Attentive Helpfulness as a Cultural Practice of Mexican-Heritage Families A. Lopez, O. Ruvalcaba, B. Rogoff 7. The Study of Mexican Immigrant Families’ Space A.E. Arzubiaga, J. Brinkerhoff, B.G. Seeley Part 3: School and Community Contexts 8. Issues in Educating Mexican American English Language Learners E. Midobuche, A.H. Benavides, F. Koca 9. Bilingual Language Development in Early Childhood: Research and Policy Implications for Mexican-American Children M. Zepeda, J.L. Rodriguez 10. Mexican American Parents' Involvement in their Children's Schooling M. Suizzo Part 4: Perspectives on Mental Health 11. Mexican American's Help-Seeking of Counseling Services: Removing Barriers to Access and Focusing on Strengths L.R. Sanchez 12. Parenting and Children’s Mental Health in Mexican American Families C. Klinkebiel, N. Harris, J. Borrego Jr 13. The Cultural Adaptation and Mental Health of Mexican American Adolescents N.A. Gonzales, M. Jensen, Z. Montano, H. Wynne Part 5: Perspectives on Physical Health 14. Nutritional Resilience in Mexican Immigrant/Mexican-Americans: How Might Food Contribute to the Hispanic Paradox? G.X. Ayala, E. Arredondo 15. Indigenous Health and Coping Resources in Mexican American Communities R. Lopez 16. The Psychology of Health: Physical Health and the Role of Culture and Behavior in Mexican Americans J.M. Ruiz, H.A. Hamann, J. Garcia, S.J. Craddock Lee 17. Promoting the Health of Mexican American Infants and Young Children M.O. Caughy, L. Franzini Part 6: Conclusions 18. Perspectives and Recommendations for Future Directions E. Lindsey, Y.M. Caldera

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Yvonne M. Caldera is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University. 

Eric W. Lindsey is Professor of Applied Psychology at Penn State University – Berks Campus.


"Caldera & Lindsey offer a timely multidisciplinary overview of recent advances in our understanding of Mexican American families with a focus on the strengths of these families. The volume will be of value to novices and established scholars in many disciplines who share an interest in ethnicity and families." – Ross D. Parke, University of California -Riverside, USA

"Scholars at all levels of expertise will benefit from this book, which covers an impressive breadth of topics, transcends disciplinary boundaries, and emphasizes a strengths-based approach to understanding the experiences of an important segment of the U.S. Latino population." – Adriana J. Umaña-Taylor, Arizona State University, USA

"The … social and ecosystemic framework … of this highly informative book allows the practitioner and researcher to move away from deficit-based approaches and fully embrace a strengths-based approach, incorporating their heritage and expertise when working with Mexican American populations." – Elizabeth Aguilar, CIFAC Centro de Investigación Familiar A.C., Mexico

"This book will be very useful as a training tool … for practitioners in diverse health fields as well as education. ...The book is intended for scholars and graduate students, but ... it can be used with more advance undergraduates. I ... will use the book in my courses … [on] psychological perspectives on the Chicano/Latino family."   Yvette G. Flores, University of California – Davis, USA

"The book could play a significant role in shaping future research on Mexican Americans. ... Upper division undergraduates could easily handle the content of the book ... [along with] ... early childhood education, social work/welfare, public health, and nursing programs [that] … have classes on cultural diversity and /or ethnic children and families." – Amado M. Padilla, Stanford University, USA

"The writing is strong and clear. ...This book is perfect for campuses that have Ethnic Studies departments …  or for more general departments (sociology, psychology, marriage and family therapy) that are geographically located in areas that are highly populated by Mexican Americans."  Melanie M. Domenech Rodríguez, Utah State University, USA

"[The book] follows an ecological model in presenting Mexican American child development and family life from multidisciplinary perspectives. [...] The underlying theme of this collection is consistently positive, focused around a generative view of the lives of Mexican American children and adolescents in families in the context of communities." -Joan Koss-Chioino, PsycCRITIQUES, 2015