TitleThe Processes of Becoming a Caregiver Among Mexican-Origin Women: A Cultural Psychological Perspective
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMcDermott, E, Mendez-Luck, CA
JournalSAGE Open
Date Published04/2018

This article describes thematic findings that emerged from an in-depth analysis of interview data collected from 44 informal caregivers in East Los Angeles, California. The research question addressed in this paper is “How do Mexican-origin women describe becoming oriented to or familiarized with the caregiving role and its associated responsibilities?” A cultural psychological perspective guided the study, which used a thematic analysis approach. Two main themes emerged from the data: (a) caregiving comes from within, and (b) caregiving is cultivated through early and continuous informal socialization. Women viewed caregiving as something that was unique to their character. Some women described having a natural ability or affinity for caregiving, and others described internal motivations for becoming caregivers. Adoption of the caregiver role occurred over time, often over the course of many years. The socialization process was gendered such that modeling behaviors and care expectations were directed at women in the family rather than men. Our findings suggest that the transition into the caregiving role is a complex process that can vary considerably across family and cultural contexts. The nature of caregiving motives and the timing of caregivers’ socialization to the caregiving role have implications for the caregiving experience and caregiver outcomes.

Short TitleSAGE Open