Individualism or (Inter)Dependence? Familism and Acculturation among Low-Income Latina Mothers and Its Links to Child Wellbeing

Angela Valdovinos D'Angelo, University of Chicago

Using longitudinal ethnographic data collected as a part of Welfare, Families, and Children: A Three-City Study, this study examined 39 low-income Latina mothers of young children to investigate the intersection of familism and acculturation, links to family interdependence, and how these processes relate to child wellbeing. By situating the analysis in acculturation theory and a transactional model of child development, this study revealed that mothers employ different strategies for family support and dependency according to their acculturation level and endorsement of familistic values. The findings also discredited the idea that the acculturation/familism association is strictly an inverse one, and showed that endorsement of familistic values can be high even among highly acculturated mothers who maintain an emphasis on their ethnic identity. Support for familism as a protective characteristic for child development was mixed, as children showed a range of troubling outcomes on school achievement, behavior, and health.

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Presented in Session 134: Latino Family Structure and Economic Well-Being