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Normative Cultural Values and the Experiences of Mexican-American Mothers in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Cleveland, Lisa M. PhD, RN, IBCLC; Horner, Sharon D. PhD, RN, FAAN

Section Editor(s): Dowling, Donna

Advances in Neonatal Care:
doi: 10.1097/ANC.0b013e31824d9a00
Original Research

PURPOSE: To explore the experiences of Mexican-American mothers who have had infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

PARTICIPANTS: A convenience sample of 15 English-speaking, Mexican-American women was interviewed.

DESIGN: The study used an exploratory qualitative approach.

METHODS: Data collection was conducted through audiotaped, transcribed, semistructured, individual interviews and field notes. The 5 normative cultural values for Latino families—(1) simpatia, (2) personalismo, (3) respeto, (4) familismo, and (5) fatalismo—were used as a sensitizing framework to guide data interpretation.

RESULTS: The women's discussions of their NICU experiences clearly reflect the 5 normative Latino cultural values. Positive and negative exemplars of these values are provided as evidence.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings can be used to inform nursing care provided for Mexican-American mothers and their infants by assisting nurses to customize care to meet the cultural needs of this population.

Author Information

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Dr Cleveland); and University of Texas at Austin (Dr Horner).

Correspondence: Lisa M. Cleveland, PhD, RN, IBCLC, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229 (

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2012 National Association of Neonatal Nurses