Chronic illnesses, such as cancer, are considered sources of stress as they are associated with losses of physical, psychological, social, and financial resources. The consideration of cultural resources is particularly important among ethnic minorities, low acculturated individuals, and immigrants, populations usually associated with a lack of many resources. The connections between acculturation, the changes made when accessing a new cultural context, and health have been extensively studied from a quantitative perspective, usually concentrating on one acculturation domain and without reference to a specific theoretical background. A qualitative approach was utilized in this study involving a multidimensional concept of acculturation with an examination of potential theoretical connections within the theory of conservation of resources (COR). COR is a type of integrative stress theory in which the mobilization of resources and influence of culture, community, and self are emphasized within the stress process. Ten first generation low acculturated Hispanic women diagnosed and undergoing cancer treatment participated in this phenomenological study. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews that were voice-recorded, transcribed, translated, and analyzed following the protocol for interpretative phenomenological analysis. The participants identified the heritage culture resources of past experiences, family, motherhood, faith, social network, language, and cultural identification, which they accessed to manage stress during their cancer experience. Four superordinate themes emerged from the analysis of the heritage culture resources and emergent themes. The superordinate themes revealed the sources of reliance, support, strength to endure, and moving forward and giving back that these heritage culture resources represented during the cancer experience. Under COR theory, clarification was gained as how long-standing resource gain, represented by heritage culture resources, may counterbalance and aid in response to resource loss represented by chronic illness. Suggestions for future research are repeating the study with low acculturated Hispanic men, comparing access and use of heritage culture resources between low and high-acculturated individuals during chronic illness, and examining the impact of time of exposure to the mainstream culture on the different acculturation domains among low acculturated individuals.
|Department:||School of Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Womens studies, Ethnic studies, Hispanic American studies|
|Keywords:||Acclturation, Chronic illness, Heritage culture, Hispanic|
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