Characteristics Paper


Characteristics Paper Ottia Birl, Jamie Howell, Tomeka Murray, and Ronald Smith Psych/535 February 28, 2011 Evangelina Alonso, Psy. D Characteristics Paper Introduction The United States is made up of several different cultural groups. All of theses cultural groups are made up of their own morals, religions, beliefs, and characteristic traits.

Team B (Ottia Birl, Jamie Howell, Tomeka Murray, and Ronald Smith) will discuss researched information about the Hispanic culture. This information will include various characteristics of the Hispanic culture, such as, cultural practices, language, family values and morals, etiquette, and eating habits.

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While discussing the Hispanic culture, the individuals also elaborated on the impact of Hispanic cultural characteristics on the experience of being an American Subculture, the strained relationship between America and Mexico, the growing Hispanic community, the value of Hispanic Americans, application of Hispanic cultural aspects to Traditional Psychological Theory, cultural deficit or disadvantage theory, the effects of racism and oppression, social learning theory and operant conditioning, and implications for Psychological Theory and Practice. Primary Hispanic Cultural Characteristics

Family Values and morals The Hispanic Americans are families that are closely knitted together and social systems are very important to them (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). With the Hispanic Americans, the family goes over and beyond what constitutes the makeup of the nuclear family (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). The family unit of the Hispanic American doesn’t just consist of the parents and children but the extended members also (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). The primary structure of the family is the father who is the head and then the mother who takes care of the home (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). All other members of the amily are morally responsible for supporting and aiding any other member that experience hardships. The hardships include such things as conditions of poor health, unemployment, other financial problems and issues in life (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). Hispanic Americans have very strong family bonds. It is their common practice to stay with other family members when traveling or moving to another city or state until living arrangements are secured. There is great value and importance placed upon celebrating holidays and special occasions, such as: birthdays, weddings, religious events, and graduations (Noble & LaCasa, 1991).

Their children are instilled with strong morals that depicts honor as important, having respect for all authority and elderly, and showing good manners (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). Furthermore, the Hispanic American takes pride in preserving their cultural language. Therefore, the speaking of Spanish is practiced as common within each family home (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). Etiquette The Hispanic American uses their Spanish language for addressing both formal and non formal events.

When participating in non formal setting their conversations are normally loud and fast and many forms of animated bodily gestures are used to express what is meant (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). Hispanic Americans place high importance on their appearance and looks being connected to dignity and honor (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). When attending gathering such as: church, social meeting, and parties, formal attire is worn. For non formal occasions, the wearing of jeans and tennis shoes is a common practice (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). Hispanics are not time oriented and punctual.

It is a common practice to arrive at least thirty minute after the starting of an event. This is considered an acceptable social behavior for them (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). Hispanic American formally greets and leaves one another with a firm handshake. They also embrace each other with a hug and kiss on the cheeks. This practice is observed by women and men, family member and close friends of the family (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). Eating Habits The eating habits practiced by the Hispanic American are a light meal for breakfast. Lunch is considered the main meal of the day and known as el almuerzo (Noble & LaCasa, 1991).

It is also a common practice for many member of the family to spend at least two hours together for this important meal. There is normally a time of rest set aside after lunch known as La siesta. A moderate snack with coffee and sandwiches completes the practice in the early part of the evening. This is known as la merinda, a very informal meal many times just for the children (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). However, since living in the United States most Hispanic have adopted the system of eating three meals a day. The meals for afternoon and evening are considered significant.

This time of family and social gathering also involves guests and therefore is observed as a time for fellowship which includes coffee and other after dinner drink (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). The Impact of Hispanic Cultural Characteristics on the Experience of being an American Subculture Performing an analysis of the Latino groups in the United States would be an extensive task (Hall, 2010). The Hispanic culture in the United States is comprised of many cultures with millions of individuals, with differing cultural norms, religions, political practices, family hierarchy, and other ideologies that make each culture unique (Hall, 2010).

As a subculture in the United States the Hispanic culture is despised by many Americans. The attitudes of some Americans toward the Hispanic culture is despite the fact that many members of the Hispanic culture live in the same demographic, shop at the same stores, eat at the same restraints, and attend some of the same churches as Americans (Hall, 2010). The majority of Hispanic members are extremely devoted members of the Catholic or Episcopalian faith, which is the same basic principle upon which America was founded.

As a subculture of America the members of the Hispanic American culture place their children in the same schools and have the same hopes and dreams as Americans (Hall, 2010). The strained relationship between America and Mexico The relationship between Mexico and the United States remains tense because of the armed conflict in the 1800s (Shifter, 2010). Since this time immigrants from Mexico have been attempting to enter the United States to make money and provide a better life for members of their family (Shifter, 2010). The Hispanic people were originally seen as migrant farm workers oming to America to harvest crops and then return home. The Latino people are hard working and family oriented, which is the focus of the Hispanic culture (Shifter, 2010). In modern society the Hispanic American individual is being educated in English making them bilingual. Hispanic American customs are different from those of Americans, especially in the area of family (Shifter, 2010). Americans for the most part value gratification, self-indulgence, and materialism. The hierarchy of the Hispanic family begins with parents as experience is revered in the Hispanic culture (Shifter, 2010).

The male is traditionally considered the leader of the immediate family and the female is valued for domestic skills. In the American culture most men are admired for social status, income, and masculinity, most women are admired for the shape of their outer beauty (Shifter, 2010). The growing Hispanic community Even though the Hispanic American subculture is considered a minority group, the number of members continues to grow toward a majority status (Heise, 2010). The Hispanic subculture holds moral behavior and religion in higher regard than most Americans.

Most Americans are over indulgent and narcissistic, valuing anything that brings pleasure or a larger salary (Heise, 2010). Hispanic Americans for the most part are paid less than most Americans for more backbreaking work. A portion of the difference in pay between Americans and Hispanic Americans might consist of difficulties in communication due to a language barrier (Heise, 2010). Americans claim that the members of the Hispanic culture entering the United States illegally are stealing American jobs and dragging down the economy. Not many Americans would be willing to swallow their pride and clean toilets for a living (Heise, 2010).

Members of the Hispanic culture are willing to do anything to support their family and give them a better life, including landscaping, construction, masonry work, and cleaning American houses (Heise, 2010). The value of Hispanic Americans Some Americans complain about Hispanics members but still hire them to perform quality work for a low price (Heise, 2010). When Americans sincerely face the facts, the United States needs Hispanic Americans not only as a scapegoat as some would have it but to perform jobs some Americans are not willing to perform (Heise, 2010).

If the Hispanic culture, either legal or illegal left America the effects would be catastrophic. Most of the companies would be forced out of business, which would have a negative effect on the American economy (Heise, 2010). Some economists claim that members of the Hispanic culture entering the United States illegally cost American tax payers approximately 20 billion in tax dollars to return the immigrants to Mexico and other countries south of the American border. Providing that the figure is not inflated, the services that Hispanic Americans provide is well worth the money spent (Heise, 2010).

Application of Hispanic Cultural Aspects to Traditional Psychological Theory Cultural deficit or disadvantage theory. The growing presence of Hispanic members in America has created many opportunities for cross-cultural psychologists to study the behavior of these members in relation to their American counter-parts (Jenson, 2010). Two of the models of multicultural psychology include the social aspects of acculturation and biculturalism. Multicultural psychologists study the social and behavioral results of oppression and racism on members of the Hispanic culture (Jenson, 2010).

Psychologists also study how these affects impact cultural identity and the attitude of Hispanic members toward the majority groups, which may affect relations between these groups. Being the focus of stereotypical and racist behavior can create a stressful situation resulting in a stress related mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety, or antisocial personality disorder (Jenson, 2010). Developing a stress related disorder can have adverse effects on an entire family, including children. Oppression and racism can also create feelings of self-doubt and may diminish one’s sense of self-worth and esteem (Jenson, 2010).

The effects of racism and oppression Examples of how racism affects Hispanic children can be seen in academic achievement, school attendance, and drop out rate (Salil, Medha, & Prabhu, 2009). Studies show that the Hispanic American culture has the highest drop out rate of any ethnic group including African Americans. Some researchers state that the reason for a high drop out rate among Hispanic children is due in part to the low value placed on education by the Hispanic culture (Salil, Medha, & Prabhu, 2009).

Researchers believe that if the Hispanic parents do not value education, and the child is not being positively reinforced for achievement, then the child will not hold education in high regard (Salil, Medha, & Prabhu, 2009). A high drop out rate among Hispanic teens may be the reason many become involved with organized crime. Gangs offer young teens the sense of acceptance or reward they may be missing at home (Salil, Medha, & Prabhu, 2009) Social learning theory and operant conditioning The psychological theory that reinforces this idea is Albert Bandura’s social learning theory (Isom, 1998).

Social learning theory is founded on the idea that children learn or model the behaviors, norms, values, and beliefs of parents and other authority figures. The aspects of modeling include both positive and negative behaviors (Isom, 1998). B. F. Skinner’s operant conditioning theory in which Skinner states that maladaptive behavior is a result of environmental factors and can be corrected through schedules of reinforcement (Isom, 1998). Skinner believes that through negative and positive reinforcement one can modify the behavioral effects of a conditioned response.

An alternate theory explains that maladaptive behavior, including the drop out rate of young Hispanic children is that schools are biased toward cultural differences and set students up to fail by not teaching the students need to be successful (Isom, 1998). Implications for Psychological Theory and Practice In 2000, 35% of students in United States public schools were Hispanic and it is anticipated that by the year 2030 Hispanics will comprise 46% of the population in Texas, making this the largest and fastest growing group in the United States (Garza and Watts, 2010).

Garza and Watts (2010) contend that with this group being overrepresented in such areas as poverty, low graduation rates, and teen pregnancy many states will be affected by a large percentage being impoverished, uneducated, and under-skilled. This poses numerous problems for counselors as Hispanics traditionally are reluctant to seek or accept help and frequently discontinue services before the goal has been achieved. However, Garza and Watts (2010) indicate these clients may be more receptive of services if they have developed trust in the provider hich is facilitated through a sense of being understood. There are four values central to working with the general Hispanic culture: confidence; respect; relationships on a personal level, and the importance of family. It is vital that the therapist understands the importance of involving members of the client’s family in all stages of treatment for they will serve as the primary support group. Family members are viewed as an extension of self and such interdependence should be encouraged (Garza and Watts, 2010).

Frequently, Hispanics are accompanied to doctors’ appointments by other members of the family, members whose input will be considered in the client’s decision making process regarding treatment. Throughout history such interdependence has served as a cultural survival tactic by creating a sense of unity and strength and should not be overlooked in any helping relationship established by a counselor. Likewise, it is important for the therapist to be aware of the hierarchical based differences in behaviors exhibited by Hispanic clients.

A therapist will be seen as disrespectful if this hierarchy is not evidenced in their dealing with Hispanic clients and services may be refused (Garza and Watts, 2010). Respect is the primary value in this hierarchical system, specifically respect to the family as a whole and respect for familial position. Hispanic parents often feel that respect, demonstrated through obedience, is more important than education and academics for their children (Garza and Watts, 2010). Confidence is earned from Hispanic clients once they perceive the therapist understands their values and see this understanding reflected through the therapist’s interactions.

The client’s level of involvement and commitment in the therapy process is affected by their confidence in the therapist. Confidence is also based on the type of relationship the therapist has established with the client and the larger family. In their characteristic paper written, Garza and Watts (2010) say that the Hispanic client tends to attribute successful treatment to the provider instead of the treatment itself and urge therapists to establish a personal style and behaviors that nurture a personal relationship.

The authors recommend a person-centered approach with Hispanic clients, citing shared values of respect and a sense of emotional intimacy. To establish this type of personal relationship counselors are advised to refer to their clients by titles they are comfortable with such as senior or senora instead of Mr. or Mrs. and to inquire about their lives and family in a manner that has no bearing on the therapeutic setting – show a sincere interest in the person, demonstrating that they are more than just a client.

This may seem difficult to achieve considering the requirements of a professional relationship and the laws regarding privacy. One technique to resolve this conflict is to advise the client of the confidentiality of the therapy process and the privacy of the counseling setting, telling the client and family that if encountered outside of the counseling setting the counselor will protect this privacy by not acknowledging the client. If the client is comfortable acknowledging therapist they may approach the counselor and initiate a conversation.

At this time the counselor would be better able to foster the personal relationship Garza and Watts recommend, by asking the client about their family or other important event they are aware of such as a new member of the family, or family members who were expected to arrive for a visit. Almost any topic outside of the counseling issue would further this personal relationship by fostering the sense of emotional intimacy. Conclusion In conclusion, Team B discussed the Hispanic Cultures history, morals, beliefs, eating habits and ect.

While discussing the Hispanic culture, the individuals elaborated on the impact of Hispanic cultural characteristics on the experience of being an American Subculture, the strained relationship between America and Mexico, the growing Hispanic community, the value of Hispanic Americans, application of Hispanic cultural aspects to Traditional Psychological Theory, cultural deficit or disadvantage theory, the effects of racism and oppression, social learning theory and operant conditioning, and implications for Psychological Theory and Practice.

After research was conducted, it was the opinion of one of the team members that even though there are different cultures in the United States and the all have different traditions, beliefs, and characteristics; they all have something in common. They want to be respected and treated fairly. References Garza, Y. and Watts, R. E. (2010, Winter). Filial therapy and hispanic values: Common ground for culturally sensitive helping. Journal of Counseling & Development. 88(n. d. ). 108-111. Hall, G. C. N. (2010). Multicultural psychology (2nd ed. ).

Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. Isom, M. (1998). The social learning theory. Retrieved February 25, 2011, from http://www. criminology. fsu. edu/crimtheory/bandura. htm Jenson, A. (2010). Cultural deficit theory. Retrieved February 25, 2011, from http://www. eric. ed. gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini. jsp? _nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=ED243918&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=ED243918 Noble, J. , LaCasa, J. (1991). The Hispanic Way: Aspects of Behavior, Attitudes, and Customs of the Spanish-Speaking World. Chicago, Ill.

Passport Books. Salil, T. , Medha, T. , and Prabhu, S. (2009). Hispanic ethnic identity: The Effects of Hispanic Ethnic Identification on Teenager Influence. Retrieved February 25, 2011, from http://www. westga. edu/~bquest/1997/hispanic. html Shifter, M. (2010). The U. S. relationship with Mexico. Retrieved February 25, 2011, from https://www. thedialogue. org/page. cfm? pageID=32&pubID=1044&mode=print (Noble & LaCasa, 1991). The Hispanic Way: Aspects of Behavior, Attitudes, and Customs of the Spanish-Speaking World. Chicago, Ill. Passport Books.



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