Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-21-1965


This investigation was designed to identify the practices used by selected Spanish-American families to prevent disease in their children, and to compare these practices to those used by Anglo-American mothers of similar socioeconomic status. The historical development of Hispano culture and the beliefs emanating from it regarding disease causation, treatment and prevention were presented. An exploratory study was done to ascertain if Spanish-American families utilized measures to prevent disease in their children and to identify any measures used. During this phase an interview guide and the interview method were tested. The survey consisted of sem i-structured interviews with thirty-seven subjects, nineteen Hispano and eighteen Anglo-American, who were residents of a public housing project and fulfilled the child-care role in the family. Random selection was the basis for choice of the housing project and the subjects used. All subjects in each cultural group utilized some measures to prevent disease in their children. Of the measures employed, only use of food in prevention of disease showed a significant difference in the two cultural groups when tested by chi square, with a 0.05 level of significance accepted. Other measures found to be used to prevent disease by subjects representing each cultural group were: (1) prevention by chemical means; such as drugs or disinfectants (2) prevention through adjustment of the environment: control of human contact, adjustment of the household, or adjustment of clothing (3) prevention through religious practices Subjects from both cultural groups considered the emotional state of the child important in disease prevention. Not one subject in either group reported using magical practice to prevent disease. It is recommended that public health nurses working with Hispanos study each family as a unique entity and avoid cultural generalizations.