Disabilities as Viewed by Four Generations of One Hispanic Family Forty members of one Hispanic family ranging in age from 21 to 96 years were interviewed by a bilingual professional who was also a family member. The interviews were conducted in the homes of the participants in the language of their choice. The results indicate that culture plays an important ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2002
Disabilities as Viewed by Four Generations of One Hispanic Family
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Marlene B. Salas-Provance, PhD
    Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville
  • Joan Good Erickson
    University of Ilinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Jean Reed
    Educational Consultant, Albuquerque, NM
  • Contact author: Marlene B. Salas-Provance, PhD, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders, Box 1147, Edwardsville, IL 62027. E-mail: mbprovance@accessus.net
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2002
Disabilities as Viewed by Four Generations of One Hispanic Family
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2002, Vol. 11, 151-162. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2002/015)
History: Received July 13, 2000 , Accepted July 18, 2001
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2002, Vol. 11, 151-162. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2002/015)
History: Received July 13, 2000; Accepted July 18, 2001
Web of Science® Times Cited: 13

Forty members of one Hispanic family ranging in age from 21 to 96 years were interviewed by a bilingual professional who was also a family member. The interviews were conducted in the homes of the participants in the language of their choice. The results indicate that culture plays an important role in folk and medical belief systems regarding health and illness. Stereotypical attitudes of this cultural group toward the causes and treatment of disabilities, including communication disorders, were both supported and rejected. Analysis of the responses to the closed-ended questions indicated that a large number and variety of folk beliefs were held by participants and varied according to factors such as age, income, education, and gender. In contrast, strong beliefs in medically based causes and cures of disabilities were apparent across the generations and showed little variation by age, income, education, or gender. Responses to open-ended questions indicated that medical beliefs were more frequently reported than folk beliefs. Clinical implications of the results of this research reinforce the need for professionals to increase their cultural awareness, knowledge and skills in order to provide culturally sensitive clincial services.

Acknowledgments
We wish to thank the students from St. Louis University, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for their time and support with library work and data entry for this study. We also thank the family members who participated in this research, for without their enthusiastic commitment of time and their willingness to share information about their culture, this study would not have been possible.
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