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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

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.

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