Birth control and low-income Mexican-American women: the impact of three values

Ortiz, S.; Casas, J.M.

Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 12(1): 83-92


ISSN/ISBN: 0739-9863
PMID: 12283504
DOI: 10.1177/07399863900121005
Document Number: 366879
This study examines how 3 particular sociocultural values affect Mexican-American women's attitude, knowledge, and use of birth control. Researchers interviewed 99 low-income married Mexican-American women, 48 of whom had a low level of acculturation and 51 of whom had a high level, focusing on the values of motherhood, male dominance, and sexual expression. While the low acculturation group showed a significant linear relationship between attitudes towards birth control and the 3 values, the high acculturation group failed to exhibit a similar relationship. The study also found that no significant relationship exists between knowledge of birth control and the aforementioned values. The sociocultural values, however, do explain a 30% variability in attitudes towards birth control among the women with low acculturation, as well as a 22% variability in birth control use. Although significant, the results do not fully account for the variability. The study suggests several possible explanations for the unaccounted variance: considering the complexity of the values involved, the instruments involved may have failed to fully uncover their effects; because they were normed on Anglo-Americans, the instruments may not have sensitive enough of Mexican-American attitudes; and finally, the study may have overlooked other important values. Nonetheless, the study points out definite differences in attitudes between high and low acculturation groups. Considering that Hispanic women -- particularly Mexican-American women -- experience a very high birthrate (double that of non-Hispanics), examining sociocultural values may give insights into better family planning methods for this group.

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