Purpose: Hispanic-Americans are the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. The need to care for older Hispanics has become an important issue as they now enjoy longer life expectancies due to better access to healthcare and less labor participation in hazardous occupations. The present study examined whether the association between caregiver burden and gender-role expectations is mediated by acculturation and filial piety. Method: The sample consisted of 93 Mexican-American rehabilitation services students enrolled at a large public university in Texas. The four instruments used in the study were the Zarit Burden Interview, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory, the Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican-Americans-Revised, and the Expectations of Filial Piety Scale. Participants visited an online survey site to respond to the questionnaire. Results: About half of the most common person to whom care was being provided was a parent 49.5% (n = 46) with 35.5% (n = 33) grandparents and 15.1% (n = 14) siblings. Acculturation scores were positively correlated with both gender-role expectations (r = .23, p = .027) and filial piety (r = .30, p = .003) scores. In addition, caregiver burden scores were negatively correlated with gender-role expectation scores (r = -.21, p = .046) and filial piety scores were positively correlated with gender-role expectation scores (r = .29, p = .005). The correlation between caregiver burden and filial piety was not statistically significant (r = -.10, P > .05 n.s.). Moreover, neither acculturation nor filial piety mediated the relationship between gender-role expectations and caregiver burden. Conclusion: Mexican-Americans view aging positively, have a sense of caring for elders, and have strong ties to their culture. As a result of strong Hispanic family values, the obligation to care for family members (i.e., familism) tends to occur with little hesitance. Future replication studies are needed to better understand the effects of acculturation and filial piety on caregiver burden among Mexican-Americans residing in other regions of the country, including outside the cities along the United States-Mexico border. The rationale for further research is that living in predominantly-White states such as Minnesota and Wyoming, where Mexican-Americans make up a small fraction of the population, might have effects on their acculturation.

Author Bio(s)

Roy K. Chen, PhD, CRC, is a professor of rehabilitation counseling in the School of Rehabilitation Services and Counseling at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Bryan S. Austin, PhD, LPC, CRC, is an assistant professor of rehabilitation counseling at the University of Idaho, Boise.

Chien-Chun Lin, PhD, CRC, is an assistant professor of rehabilitation counseling at Western Oregon University.







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