African and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs

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Cultural Group: African American and African

A brief history of the cultural group

  • The second largest ethnocultural group in America.
  • Descendants of Africans brought as slaves.
  • Africans are coming between 1619 and 1860 (Purnell, 2014).
  • Gained freedom after the ratification of the 13th Amendment.
  • The long struggle for equality in civil rights.

Values and Worldview

  • Putting a high value on education.
  • The great significance of family ties.
  • Attention to authentic African traditions.
  • Strong moral considerations and discouragement of immoral behavior.
  • The strong impact of religious values.

Language and communication patterns

  • English as a dominant language.
  • Informal African American version of English.
  • Open expression of feelings with friends and family.
  • Interpersonal, animated, and confrontational communication.
  • Loud, dynamic, and expressive speech (Giger, 2014).

Art and other expressive forms

  • Influenced by authentic African art.
  • The major role of folk artists.
  • Art roots found in skilled slaves.
  • Romantic and classical tendencies after Civil War.
  • The strong impact of Harlem Renaissance.

Norms and rules

  • Extended families frequently living together.
  • Usual involvement in diverse church activities.
  • Respectful behavior to adults and elderly.
  • Strong support from the Black community.
  • A strong feeling of ethnic identity (Bosley, 2017).

Lifestyle characteristics

  • The majority of matriarchal families.
  • Many people living below the poverty level.
  • Usually oriented on work and achievement.
  • Significance of social status within a community.
  • The strong impact of the church (Christian and others).

Relationship patterns and common rituals

  • Respect and obedience to the older generation.
  • The ritual of family reunion.
  • Strong family connections through generations.
  • Diversity of death rituals, including “voodoo death.”
  • Traditional African American funeral services (Giger, 2014).

Degree of assimilation or marginalization from mainstream society

  • Assimilation depends on the time of immigration.
  • Stronger assimilation among American-born individuals.
  • Preservation of authentic African rituals.
  • Assimilation of language used in communities.
  • Marginalization of African American communities.

Health behaviors and practices

  • Health care frequently neglected due to poverty.
  • Preference of family care rather than providers.
  • Visiting healthcare providers only in emergency.
  • Frequent use of home remedies and folk healers.
  • Low degree of treatment adherence (Purnell, 2014).

Socio-Cultural Group: Mexican Heritage

A brief history of the socio-cultural group

  • Newer immigrants living in America for 5-6 generations.
  • The peak of immigration after 1848.
  • Immigration caused by high poverty in Mexico.
  • Cases of lynching of Mexicans and Mexican Americans.
  • Many working immigrants after 1910.

Values and Worldview

  • Family as the first priority.
  • Value of good education for children.
  • Respect for older people ad those in higher positions.
  • Importance of high social status.
  • Support of family members and relatives (“Mexican family culture,” 2018).

Language and communication patterns

  • Diversity invariants of Spanish language.
  • Frequent use of both English and Spanish.
  • Importance of verbal communication.
  • Short personal distance during a conversation.
  • Touch is not common in public.

Art and other expressive forms

  • Mariachi style of folk music.
  • World-famous artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.
  • Traditional folk art: colorful garments.
  • Silver-smithing, pottery, mosaics, and textiles.
  • Use of Mexican mythology symbols.

Norms and rules

  • Men are responsible for the financial support of families (Purnell, 2014).
  • Women take care of home and children.
  • Both patriarchal and matriarchal households.
  • Extended families living close to each other.
  • Highly supportive with family and relatives.

Lifestyle characteristics

  • Importance of academic education and a respected position.
  • Focus on diplomacy and tact.
  • Care for the prosperity of the clan.
  • The strong impact of religion on life.
  • Preference for traditional national cuisine.

Relationship patterns and Common rituals

  • Decisions are taken after consulting the family.
  • Preservation of customs and traditions.
  • Demonstration of affection between family members.
  • Significance of God parenting in families (“Mexican family culture,” 2018).
  • Importance of patron saint days (“The Mexican culture,” n.d.).

Degree of assimilation or marginalization from mainstream society

  • Assimilation depends on the period of immigration.
  • Generally the low level of assimilation.
  • Language barrier to assimilation.
  • Impact of identity choice and desire to assimilate.
  • Communities marginalized from mainstream society.

Health behaviors and practices

  • High rates of individuals who smoke.
  • Family as a credible source of health care.
  • Broad application of herbs and teas.
  • Belief in common cultural illnesses.
  • Preference of folk healthcare providers (Purnell, 2014).

Both Groups

A comparison and contrast analysis of common characteristics and distinguishing traits between the groups

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  • Common high role of family.
  • Similar respect for authentic traditions.
  • The strong role of religion for both communities.
  • Attention to folk art in culture.
  • Different degree of assimilation in society.

A discussion of differential approaches needed by health care professionals.

  • The necessity of considering cultural peculiarities.
  • Consideration of communication patterns.
  • Attention to folk remedies used by patients.
  • Discussion of health issues with family members.
  • Involvement of family in patient education.


Bosley, D. (2017). Cultural norms in the African-American population. Web.

Giger, J. N. (2014). Transcultural nursing: Assessment and intervention (6th ed.). St. Louis, MR: Elsevier

The Mexican culture. (n.d.). Web.

Mexican family culture: Important values, traditions, and beliefs. (2018). Web.

Purnell, L. D. (2014). Guide to culturally competent health care (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis Company.

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NursingBird. (2021, June 2). African and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs. Retrieved from


NursingBird. (2021, June 2). African and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs.

Work Cited

"African and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs." NursingBird, 2 June 2021,


NursingBird. (2021) 'African and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs'. 2 June.


NursingBird. 2021. "African and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs." June 2, 2021.

1. NursingBird. "African and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs." June 2, 2021.


NursingBird. "African and Mexican Heritage and Health Beliefs." June 2, 2021.