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versión On-line ISSN 1668-7027


OROZCO VARGAS, Arturo Enrique. Acculturation, parental involvement, and maternal self-efficacy: A qualitative study among Latin American women in the United States . Interdisciplinaria [online]. 2018, vol.35, n.1, pp.87-104. ISSN 1668-7027.

The process of immigration involves multiple challenges and barriers as well as benefits and opportunities. Each year, innumerable Latin American families immigrate to the United States of America seeking employment, medical care, or education for their children. The purpose of this qualitative research was to explore the effects of the process of acculturation in the parental involvement and maternal self-efficacy among Latin American immigrant mothers living in the United States. In order to achieve this objective, four research questions were formulated: (1) Whatis the description that Latin American immigrant women express about their own process of acculturation? (2) What are the changes these women have experienced during their acculturation process to the United States of America? (3) How Latin American immigrant mothers are involved in the academic, emotional, social, and behavioral development of their children (4) What are the perceptions that Latin American immigrant women have about their abilities and resources as mothers? In the present study, 14 women from five different Latin American countries participated in qualitative interviews. Participants' narratives were analyzed using the Consensual Qualitative Research method proposed by Hill, Thompson and Williams. After having analyzed all transcripts, five main themes were identified: (1) Adaptation, (2) Expectations, (3) Challenges, (4) Benefits, and (5) Resources. Results shows that participants had to adapt their behavior and ideas to the current American traditions, laws, and norms. Regarding participants' expectations, they talked about how one of their main expectations was to obtain an employment with which they could satisfy their basic needs and provide a good educational level to their children. Immigrants experience multiple obstacles; for instance, lack of employment and health services, legal status, changes in family functioning, separation from family, discrimination, fear of deportation, intergenerational conflicts, and language proficiency. Besides these external barriers and challenges, Latin American immigrants are affected by internal challenges with possible negative consequences, such as intimate partner violence, despondent moods, loneliness, feeling of inadequacy, gender inequality, stress, anxiety, and alcoholism. In this study, the main barriers these participants had to cope were their immigration status, separation from their families, and language proficiency. In contrast, these participants had several benefits as a result of their decision to immigrate to the United States of America such as economic resources, their children's education, and professional information they received that helped them improve their maternal skills. In consequence, they have been able to develop their maternal skills and spend quality time with their children. All participants in this research emphasized that these benefits have been determinant for their parental involvement. The last factor related to their maternal experience was the resources they have found in the United States of American. Participants talked about the support they have received from the American government, formal and informal knowledge about how to become a better mother, and the social support provided by other Latin American families. In general terms, immigrants experience better life conditions when they have a network of relatives and friends previously established in the receiving country. Consequently, they have more opportunities for a successful relocation in the new region. The importance of social support is related to the presence of these networks which provide any kind of support when necessary. In particular, due to this support, these participants have had a better adaptation to their new life. In conclusion, this research reveals that in spite of multiple challenges Latin American immigrants have to cope, all participants concluded that after immigrating to the United States of America their competence and involvement as mothers have increased.

Palabras clave : Acculturation; Maternal self-efficacy; Parental involvement; Immigrants; Latin Americans; Women.

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