Cultural Dissonance in Global Immigration: The Experience of Latino Day Laborer Immigrants in Caring for the Health of their Children

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 10:50 AM

Lynn Van Hofwegen, DNP, APRN-BC
Nursing, California State University East Bay, Concord, CA

Learning Objective 1: describe the impact of cultural dissonance for Latino immigrant day laborer parents as they care for the health of their children.

Learning Objective 2: discuss evidence based strategies to address chronic uncertainty of cultural dissonance for immigrant families.

Purpose: This study explored the perceptions of Latino day laborer parents regarding barriers to health for their children and identified strategies for change.  Migration of Latinos from Central America and Mexico to the United States to find work is endemic. Many migrants seek work as “jornaleros” (day laborers) in manual labor. While many migrants are males, without family, an estimated 30% of migrants include families with children. The children of Latino families working in low-wage jobs as day laborers live with persistent uncertainty and increased health risk due to economic difficulty and unstable living conditions. 

Methods: This study used participatory action research methods with Latino day laborer parents.  Participants were identified from community sites including a day laborer center, community crisis center and child development center.  Two focus groups were conducted with parent participants and interviews were conducted community stakeholders. (N=24)   Barriers to health for children, changes needed and community action strategies were identified. 

Results: Findings revealed themes of difficulty accessing healthcare, the perception of poor healthcare, and experiences of fear. Cultural dissonance between cultural expectations and the present reality of isolation characterizes the experience of the Latino day laborer families as they care for the health of their children.  Latino day laborer families experience chronic stress and uncertainty related to family isolation, immigration, the paradox of acculturation and difficult access to healthcare.  Long term effects of chronic insecurity for children are unknown

Conclusion: Strategies for change identified included help negotiating the healthcare system, family support, and culturally safe, relationship-based care. Community strategies are needed to address economic instability and environment for families..  Community-based participatory action research provides a means to address the concerns of day laborer parents. Findings give insight into the experience of immigrant parents such as Latino day laborer parents and expand evidence to inform health strategies.