Changes in fatalism and familism among Puerto Ricans in New York City as a function of acculturation, education and migration

Dharma E Cortes, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the effects of acculturation, education and migration experience upon fatalism and familism in two family-linked generations of Puerto Ricans living in New York City. Fatalism and familism are two of many cultural elements Puerto Ricans bring when they migrate to the United States. Fatalism refers to the belief that destiny or other external forces are responsible for the outcomes of life. Familism is a strong feeling of loyalty, reciprocity, and solidarity toward members of the family.^ Studies consistently show that education and elements of migration experience affect acculturation and that education affects fatalism and familism. Very few studies, however, have attempted to examine how acculturation affects fatalism and familism. In this study, acculturation was conceptualized as a multidimensional process comprising instrumental and expressive dimensions.^ The examination of the impact of education, migration, and acculturation upon fatalism and familism entailed three stages of analyses. In the first stage, acculturation was correlated with fatalism and familism without considering the influence of the other variables. A second analysis was performed in which the effects of education and migration experience upon fatalism and familism were also assessed independently from acculturation. In the last stage of analyses the mediating effect of acculturation upon the relationship of education to fatalism and familism, on the one hand, and upon the relationship of migration experience to fatalism and familism, on the other hand, was examined.^ The first set of analyses revealed that acculturation operated differently for the two family generations. In the second stage of analyses, education showed the strongest effect upon fatalism and familism in the two family generations. Acculturation and migration experience affected both family generations in different ways. Instrumental elements of acculturation were found to mediate between the relationship of migration experience to fatalism and familism in the parent generation; and between the relationship of number of years in the United States to familism in the child generation. These findings are interpreted in the light of the different social and historical conditions experienced by the two family generations. ^

Subject Area

Individual & family studies|Ethnic studies

Recommended Citation

Cortes, Dharma E, "Changes in fatalism and familism among Puerto Ricans in New York City as a function of acculturation, education and migration" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9127026.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9127026

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