Impact of Family, Culture, and the Environment on Hispanic Children's Leisure Activity

Thursday, 25 July 2013: 8:50 AM

Sue A. Anderson, PhD, FNP-BC
College of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, IN

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe how Hispanic children's leisure activity is influenced by their family.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand how Hispanic children's leisure activity is influenced by their culture and community environment.


The purpose of this study was to develop an understanding of the motivators and influences on Hispanic children’s leisure activities. Two overarching questions were investigated:  1: How do Hispanic families describe leisure time activities? and 2: How do culture, family, and the community environment influence a Hispanic child’s participation in leisure time activities?


This ethnographic study engaged 10 English-speaking Hispanic mothers of children aged 6-10 as data collectors. Participants photographed their children’s leisure activities and then engaged in photo-elicited interviews about those activities.  Data analysis followed the Developmental Research Sequence suggested by Spradley. However, participants performed initial data analysis by card sorting their photographs into categories of activities. 


The participants immigrated to provide a better life for their families. In order to live a better life, the children needed to become multicultural navigators. However, life in the U.S. created tensions between the need to work and maintaining gender roles, cultural identity, and an acceptable family life. These tensions served as a catalyst for many of the leisure activities, which were aimed at promoting the multiple dimensions of their children’s health. Many of the children’s activities were sedentary.  Ultimately, the participants used the children’s leisure time as the time to prepare them to live a better life; one that is balanced, happy, healthy, and successful.


These results indicate that tensions experienced by immigrants may have a profound influence on leisure activities. Furthermore, the participants had a multidimensional definition of health. While the children in this study were sedentary, the activities were considered as important for all dimensions of their health. Health promotion advice that focuses on the physical dimension of health may not resonate with the Hispanic community. An understanding of the cultural definition of health and the motivations for leisure activity serves as a starting point for culturally-relevant intervention development.