December 2016

Volume 33, Issue 4

Dental problems and Familismo: social network discussion of oral health issues among adults of Mexican origin living in the Midwest United States

Authors: G. Maupome W.R. McConnell B.L. Perry
doi: 10.1922/CDH_3946Maupome06


Objective: To examine the influence of collectivist orientation (often called familismo when applied to the Latino sub-group in the United States) in oral health discussion networks. Basic Research Design: Through respondent-driven sampling and face-to-face interviews, we identified respondents’ (egos) personal social network members (alters). Egos stated whom they talked with about oral health, and how often they discussed dental problems in the preceding 12 months. Participants: An urban community of adult Mexican-American immigrants in the Midwest United States. We interviewed 332 egos (90% born in Mexico); egos named an average of 3.9 alters in their networks, 1,299 in total. Method: We applied egocentric network methods to examine the ego, alter, and network variables that characterize health discussion networks. Results: Kin were most often leveraged when dental problems arose; egos relied on individuals whom they perceive to have better knowledge about dental matters. However, reliance on knowledgeable alters decreased among egos with greater behavioral acculturation. Conclusions: This paper developed a network-based conceptualization of familismo. We describe the structure of oral health networks, including kin, fictive kin, peers, and health professionals, and examine how networks and acculturation help shape oral health among these Mexican-Americans. Key words: network science, social network analysis, familismo, collectivism, dental health, Mexican immigrants, Mexican-American


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