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Similarities and Differences Between African Americans and Hispanics Research Paper

Pages:15 (4693 words)

Sources:11

Subject:Health

Topic:Hpv Vaccine

Document Type:Research Paper

Document:#80454661


Hispanics and 40,375,000 African-Americans live in the United States and the respective percentages of these population groups are projected to continue to increase well into the foreseeable future. The purpose of this study was to provide descriptions of these two cultures and why they are of interest as well as a comparison of similarities and differences related to time orientation, communication, physical and mental health, group relationships, and perceptions and measures of intelligence between these two population groups. The study also presents a description of the theoretical framework that guided the analysis of both of these cultures as well as an explanation concerning how each culture influences human development, identity development, and personality development within it. An examination concerning how each culture influences the expression of emotion, the development of morality, gender, aggression, and marital fidelity and an explanation concerning potential biases that may influence the analysis of these cultures and why are followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

Cross-Cultural Research among Latinos and African-Americans

The demographic composition of the American population has changed significantly in recent decades as the percentages of Latinos and African-Americans have increased faster than the general population. As a result, approximately 88 million Americans at present are Latino or African-American, and these rates are expected to continue to increase well into the foreseeable future. Given these trends, it becomes timely and important to gain some fresh insights into these cultures. To this end, this paper reviews the relevant literature to provide descriptions of these two cultures and why they are of interest as well as a comparison of similarities and differences related to time orientation, communication, physical and mental health, group relationships, and perceptions and measures of intelligence between Latinos and African-Americans and mainstream American culture. In addition, a description of the theoretical framework that guided the analysis of both of these cultures is followed by an explanation concerning how each culture influences human development, identity development, and personality development within it. Finally, an examination concerning how each culture influences the expression of emotion, the development of morality, gender, aggression, and marital fidelity is followed by an explanation concerning potential biases that may influence the analysis of these cultures and why. A summary of the research and important findings concerning the foregoing issues are presented in the conclusion.

Description of the cultures of interest and why they are of interest

For the purposes of this study, the term "Latino" will be used interchangeably with "Hispanic" and likewise, notwithstanding some controversy in this area, the term "black" will be used interchangeably with "African-American." The two cultures of interest, Latinos and African-Americans, are of interest in part because there are so many of them. For example, approximately 15.1% of the total U.S. population is Hispanic and 12.5% African-American (American people, 2016). This means that there are approximately 48,773,000 Hispanics and 40,375,000 African-Americans in the United States today.

Given these enormous numbers and that fact that their representation in the larger population continues to increase, it is clear that these demographic groups will have a significant impact on American society in the future. Indeed, as Gutierrez and Yeakley (2000) emphasize, "Latinos, people of Latin American descent, will be the largest ethnic minority group in the United States in the 21st century" (p. 541). Notwithstanding their growing percentages as part of the larger American population, Hispanics, like other minority groups, remain marginalized along a number of important social metrics. For example, Hanson and Santas (2014) emphasize that, "Although growing as a proportion of the population, Hispanics tend to live in ethnically isolated areas, in housing units with worse quality, and in neighborhoods with worse public services and more crime than the white majority" (p. 136).

According to the cultural dimensions developed by Hofstede, the mainstream American population is regarded as being highly individualistic, and it is reasonable to extend this analysis to the African-American populations as well (Montoya & Huang, 2013). This assertion is congruent with research that dates back to the first half of the 20th century when research confirmed the individualistic nature of the African-American community in the United States (Steely, 1934). By contrast, though, a study by Gutierrez and Yeakley (2000) characterized the Latino population in the United States as being more collectivist in nature. In this regard, Gutierrez and Yeakley (2000) report that the American Latino population is characterized by "a sense of identity and commitment to collectives and groups, rather than the individual [and] a focus on intergroup and intragroup harmony, with an avoidance of conflict and confrontation" (p. 541). Taken together, it is clear that African-Americans reflect the individualistic characteristics of the larger American population while Latinos remain a comparatively collectivist population, most likely due to their vastly different American experiences. There are also some similarities and differences between Latinos, African-Americans and the mainstream American population with respect to time orientation, communication, physical and mental health, group relationships, and perceptions and measures of intelligence as discussed further below.

Comparison of similarities and differences related to time orientation, communication, physical and mental health, group relationships, and perceptions and measures of intelligence between Latinos and African-Americans and mainstream American culture

Time orientation. According to Brown (2002), the term "time orientation" refers to the "past, past-future, present, or circular -- oriented to changes that recur in nature as opposed to time as measured by watches and calendars" (p. 49). A growing body of research indicates that difference in time orientation can influence occupational choice and other life-altering decisions and that minorities in the United States tend to have different time orientations than mainstream American society (Brown, 2002). Differences in time orientation can also affect the perceptions of need for social and health care services (Leavitt, 2006). According to Williams (2005), African-American women tend to experience a more fluid time orientation compared to African-American men as well as the mainstream American population. Likewise, a study by Gutierrez and Yeakley (2000) found that Latinos tend to have, "A flexible time orientation, with an emphasis on the 'here and now' rather than on the future" (p. 541).

Communication. Health care authorities have experienced significant challenges in tailoring effective health-related messages for the urban African-American community (Stroman, 1998). In this regard, Stroman (1998) advises that, "There are culturally distinctive attitudes that serve as barriers to African-Americans receiving health care messages and/or utilizing the health care system" (p. 664). In addition, researchers have found that at Hispanics born in the United States tend to experience less frequent communications within their family units, a tendency that contributes to higher incidences of substance abuse (Kelly & Cornello, 2002).

Physical and mental health. There are a number of physical and mental health differences that exist among these two minority populations and mainstream American society. For example, a study by Moulton (2009) identified higher rates of organ damage among African-Americans as well as heart disease and stroke resulting from a higher incidence of hypertension. According to Moulton (2009), "African-Americans have an 80% higher rate of stroke mortality, 50% higher rated of heart disease mortality and a 320% greater rate of hypertension - related end - stage renal disease" (p. 166).

Likewise, African-American women are at higher risk for obesity and related disorders due to a sedentary lifestyle, and the research to date has identified a number of social constraints to improving their activity levels (Carter-Parker, Edwards & McCleary-Jones, 2012). In addition, researchers have also identified a number of physical and mental health issues that adversely affect homosexual African-American men. For example, a study by Choi, Paul, Ayala, Boylan and Gregorich (2012) identified higher levels of depression and anxiety among African-American homosexual men compared to mainstream American society. Although the effects varied, these negative mental health outcomes were associated with likely attributable to the different source and types of discrimination that were experienced by these individuals (Ayala et al., 2012).

Likewise, both African-Americans and Hispanics tend to experience disproportionally higher levels of mental health problems following natural disasters (Price, Davidson, Andrews & Ruggiero, 2013). These differences may be attributable in large part to differences in health care access compared to mainstream American society (Price et al., 2013). In addition, many African-Americans who live in inner-city communities tend to experience higher levels of stress and insomnia that adversely affect both physical and mental health status (Hall-Brown & Melliman, 2014). Furthermore, Hispanics account for higher levels of psychiatric symptomatology and prevalence rates of mental health disorders compared with other ethnic groups (Malgady & Zayas, 2001).

There are some other differences between both African-American and Hispanics concerning the need for human papillomavirus (HPV) immunizations and mainstream American society. For example, a study by Thomas and Strickland (2012) found that among Latina immigrants and African-American women living in urban community, African-American women remained more skeptical concerning the efficacy of the HPV vaccine compared to Latinas. Likewise, the results of this study found that male African-Americans were less aware of HPV infection and vaccination compared to Hispanics and mainstream American society (Thomas…


Sample Source(s) Used

References

Brown, D. (2002, Winter). The role of work and cultural values in occupational choice, satisfaction, and success: A theoretical statement. Journal of Counseling and Development, 80(1), 48-51.

Buzi, R. S. & Weinman, M. L. (2010, Summer). Depression and risk behaviors among males attending family planning clinics. International Journal of Men's Health, 9(2), 91-93.

Carter-Parker, K., Edwards, K. A. & McCleary-Jones, V. (2012, Summer). Correlates of physical activity and the theory of planned behavior between African-American women who are physically active and those who are not. The ABNF Journal, 51-58.

Choi, K-H, Paul, J., Ayala, G., Boylan, R. & Gregorich, S. E. (2013, March 14). Experiences of discrimination and their impact on the mental health among African-American, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Latino men who have sex with men. American Journal of Public Health, 1-7.

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