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Hispanic Families in the 1980s: A Decade of Research

William A. Vega
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 52, No. 4, Family Research in the 1980s: The Decade in Review (Nov., 1990), pp. 1015-1024
DOI: 10.2307/353316
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/353316
Page Count: 10
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Hispanic Families in the 1980s: A Decade of Research
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Abstract

A selective literature review covering the period of 1980 until early 1990 suggests certain changes within the knowledge base about Hispanic families in the continental United States. While the long-standing interest in cultural patterning of gender roles and family process continues, a "social adaptation" approach is evident in the demographic and migration research literature. The focus of this approach is on formative effects of environment on family structure, and the role played by family networks in facilitating international immigration and socioeconomic incorporation. The research of the 1980s also underscores gender role flexibility, which has accompanied the movement of women into the labor force, as well as effects of acculturation in multigenerational Hispanic populations. Despite an increase in empirical research, there remains much conjecture about family socialization patterns and differences in attitudes and values across cultures. The available evidence favors an interpretation that Hispanic families are increasingly vulnerable to marital disruption, but that familism—defined as either face-to-face interaction or supporting behaviors—remains a more typical feature of Hispanic families than of non-Hispanic white families. It is also evident that different Hispanic ethnic groups have had dissimilar experiences in family viability, and comparative research is needed to clarify contributory factors.

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