Coming Into Their Own: Adolescent Latinas in the United States Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • Veliz, Eve
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • First and second generation Latina adolescents represent a growing proportion of youth in the United States. Latina adolescents bring a culture with a unique set of norms that govern their sexual behavior. This coupled with the stressors felt in most Latino families markedly influences the sexual behavior of Latina teens. This research will explore the role of family experiences in the United States and cultural norms on Latina sexual and reproductive behavior in the context of the recent Latino population boom. This work focuses on two primary areas: Latino traditional values and the situational and environmental aspects of minority life in the United States. Respeto, simpatia, machismo,marianismo, and the concept of ideal family life are the key strongholds of traditional Latino values. This combination of bindingly specific gender roles, a hierarchy of familial roles and an unhealthy desire to maintain peace in the family at the cost of remaining silent, has resulted in stress and dysfunction within Latino homes. The U.S. situation for Latinos can be highlighted by the examination of acculturation, poverty, stress, bullying and conflict in school. The level and rate of each family member's acculturation ultimately determines the degree of peace and communication that exists between Latino parents and teenagers. Poverty causes stress within the household, which leads to tension when there is conversation, but more often that not, leads to silence. Bullying and conflict in school is often the result of low socioeconomic levels and poor acculturation. Latina teenagers desperately struggle amidst these obstacles to fit into the dominant U.S. culture. These variables ultimately impact parental communication, religion, familism and the parent-adolescent relationship, which in turn shape Latina sexual behavior.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Sociology."
  • Harris, Kathleen Mullan
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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