Qualitative study of the acculturative process followed by immigrant Hispanic families

Gelasia Marquez, Fordham University


The purpose of this investigation was to study the acculturative process followed by a sample of 20 immigrant Hispanic parents during their first years in the United States. Using a semistructured interview designed by this researcher, this study: (a) examined the behavioral and attitudinal changes and/or modifications that have occurred on Hispanic parents to accommodate themselves to the new society, (b) analyzed how these changes and modifications may be associated with the mutual contact and communication between immigrant Hispanic parents and both the native and host culture, and (c) explored how the process of acculturation has affected their family life and their parenting styles. The participants in the study were 20 immigrant Hispanic parents. They represent a wide range of educational and socioeconomic levels, countries of origin, and single parenthood. The conclusions of the study were: (1) The opportunities for interaction and communication with the host community as well as their mastery of English do not appear to contribute to the change of the parents' ethnic identification when they live in a community where the characteristics and values of the Hispanic community are maintained and enforced. Moreover, based on parents' responses, it appears that when the parents change their identification the change is from one of their own ethnic group to a more broad Hispanic/Latino identification. The above situations appear to occur regardless of the number of years that the parent had been in the United States and of the parent's age at the moment of arrival. (2) When the factors involved in parents' change of media preference (listening to music/watching TV programs/watching movies) are separated into Spanish language and Spanish media preference as well as English language and English media preference, they elicited responses favoring the Spanish media and language over the English language and media regardless of length of time in the United States and parents' opportunities for interaction and communication with the host community. (3) Participants regarded changes in marital relationships toward the direction of equality between spouses, the development of cooperative behaviors and attitudes regarding child-rearing responsibilities and practices as well as sharing finances as “temporal” and only “circumstantial” due to the nature of their jobs and of the economy in this country.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Marquez, Gelasia, "Qualitative study of the acculturative process followed by immigrant Hispanic families" (2000). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3003026.