Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Validating the Mexican American Intergenerational Caregiving Model

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Validating the Mexican American Intergenerational Caregiving Model

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to substantiate and further develop a previously formulated conceptual model of Role Acceptance in Mexican American family caregivers by exploring the theoretical strengths of the model. The sample consisted of women older than 21 years of age who self-identified as Hispanic, were related through consanguinal or acquired kinship ties to an elder, and had provided at least one intermittent service (without pay at least once a month). A comparative analysis method was used to test the existing theory, which consists of four phases: (a) Introduction/Early Caregiving Experiences, (b) Role Reconciliation, (c) Role Imprint, and (d) Providing/Projecting Care. Results substantiated and elaborated all four phases and 14 categories of the existing model. This study provides further evidence that the intergenerational caregiving Role Acceptance model can be used to study Hispanic caregivers in varied geographic locations. It also provides a framework for comparison with other groups of caregivers. In addition, results inform health professionals about the ways in which Hispanic caregivers view caregiving. This information has the potential to increase cultural competence in the delivery of health care to elders and their families. Key Words: Hispanic, Caregivers, Comparative Analysis, and Intergenerational

This qualitative study used the comparative analysis method to compare findings from a previous grounded theory study that formulated a conceptual model of intergenerational caregiving in Mexican American families (Escandón, 2006). The aim of securing additional evidence was to increase generalizability and reassurance that the documented Role Acceptance process is found in Hispanic families in a different region of the Southwest. The examination of multiple cases deepens the understanding and explanations while reassuring the researcher that the events and processes in one described setting are "not wholly idiosyncratic" (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p. 172). Although it has been noted that generalizability is not appropriate for qualitative studies (Denzin, 1983; Guba & Lincoln, 1989), "the question does not go away" (Miles & Huberman, p. 173). Additional data answered the question of whether the caregiving model made any sense beyond the sample of previously studied caregivers (Escandón) and whether it was reasonable to think that this model might be useful for other Hispanics in other regions of the United States.

Background

Families in the Hispanic population, which is composed of diverse groups of people, have been characterized as having a strong sense of obligation and strong feelings of loyalty, reciprocity, and solidarity among members of the nuclear and extended family. The family, basic and essential to informal caregiving, is a significant social structure that is the backbone of assistance. Informal caregiving relies on relationships between elders and caregivers, which are often complex, are culturally laden, and undoubtedly affect the way caregiving is viewed, conceptualized, and performed.

The anticipated demographic changes, especially for Hispanics, present a critical challenge for informal family caregivers. Hispanic caregiving has not been well studied, and research on Hispanic eldercare is extremely limited. Hispanic families have been historically noted to be more likely to use family as a resource for solving problems than non-Hispanic Whites (Vega, 1995). As a whole, they are known to migrate toward kin networks, maintaining family ties as a "coveted obligation" (Mindel, 1980), and regardless of their national origin, they have reported a strong commitment to family and are known to rely on family as the primary source of identity and support in times of crisis (Hurtado, 1995; Rothman, Gant, & Hnat, 1985). Keefe (1992) reported that in contrast to Anglos, Hispanics were more apt to agree that aged family members should be cared for by family as opposed to others in a nursing home setting. …

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