Mexican American Women from a Divorced Single Parent Household

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The paper reviews the attitudes of Mexican American women who have been raised by a divorced single parent. In order to have a better understanding of the family dynamics of Mexican Americans it’s important to understand the major influences that shape their attitude towards marriage. For the purpose of the study two Mexican American women raised by a single divorced parent were part of the convenience sample, in which they each par took in a fifteen-minute interview. The interviewer asked questions in regards to what has played a role towards their attitudes on marriage. Based on the results it was found that the major themes that influences the participant’s attitudes on marriage where personal experiences with marriage, gender, and religious beliefs. On the basis that one of the participant was a mother and the other was not, further studies would need to find if that in itself had a huge outcome in the difference of opinions that each participant shared.

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Attitudes toward marriage can be influenced one way or another by the marital status of one’s parents. In this particular study we are looking at Mexican American women raised by a divorced single parent. It is important to understand how these women’s attitudes and views toward the institution of marriage are formed because it helps understand the family dynamics that are being formed in our society today. Data from 2006 showed a 27.5 percent of first marriages among Mexican-American women ended within 10 years, 13.1 percent of foreign-born Mexican women’s marriages end in separation or divorce, compared to 41 percent of U.S. born Mexican women’s marriages (Hart, 2006) Statistics show that Mexican Americans are having a rise in divorce and do not maintain married like their ancestries once did.

In (Ellison, Wolfinger, & Ramos-Wada, (2013) article, the authors report Latinos embrace comparatively strong prenuptial norms, tending to view marriage as far more desirable than being single. Their studies support research that shows that Among U.S. Latinos [Catholicism] has long exerted a wide influence over Latino culture and family (Ellison, Wolfinger, & Ramos-Wada, 2013). However, additional factors such as the level of practice individuals have in their faith and how literal they take the Bible’s sayings, influences the level of conservative views and attitudes toward marriage and acceptance toward prenuptial cohabitation relations. The article touches on the fact that those being studied might only be associating with religion automatically because they see it as being part of their culture, not necessarily because their views and attitudes are aligned with its teachings and practices. ; further research would have to focus on the actual religious practices of those being interviewed.[B1]The research orchestrated in the (Oropesa, 1996) article, raises factors, such as socioeconomic status, culture, religion and family background to analyze the incentives Mexican Americans perceive in getting married or have prenuptial cohabitation relationships. The data reflects that the typical Mexican American agrees that it is better to get married than remain single (Oropesa, 1996). There is a great support for marriage among Mexican Americans and acceptance of cohabitation specially when the intention for it to lead towards marriage, exists. The data in her research reflects that The relatively strong normative beliefs in marriage among Mexican Americans cannot be attributed to socioeconomic factors, family background, demographic behavior, or attitudes. (Oropesa, 1996). In order to find what truly gives incentive to the views and attitudes that participants have toward the institution of marriage, the research paper aims to investigate how a participant’s personal experiences with marriage in their life, gender and religious beliefs influence these views. Finally, a more recent study focuses on the effects that parental divorce has on the attitudes that young adults have toward divorce; on the flip side, the results are very telling of the views and attitudes that these same young adults have toward the institution of marriage (Branch-Harris & Cox, 2015). Young adults who experienced divorce during childhood supported divorce and reported a lower level of marital commitment. This study is important because college students are at the age when they are making decisions regarding their future and are often making decisions about their future family and marriage (Branch-Harris & Cox, 2015). These types of studies give insight to the modern day adult and their thought processes behind marriage and their own family creation; all influenced by their personal experience with marriage through their parents. Currently, there aren’t any studies that focus solely on Mexican American women and how their views and attitudes toward the institution of marriage might be influenced by the marital status of their parents. This is why I have focused my research question on the following: What are the views and attitudes of Mexican American women, toward the institution of marriage, having been raised by a divorced single parent.


In order to obtain a qualitative study on the attitudes of marriage, from Mexican American women who were raised by a divorced single parent, I had to conducted two qualitative interviews. The convenience sample selection was based on the criteria of having Mexican heritage but born in the U.S., raised by a divorced single parent and lastly they had to be females. Both interviews ran 15 minutes long and the same questions were asked each time. After recording and transcribing the interviews I chose the themes based on the questions that had more insight on how their attitudes on marriage have been shaped. The themes focused on the following, personal experiences with marriage, gender differences, and religious beliefs.

Although both interviews were conducted by the same person and the same questionnaire was used, I shared more about the study in the first interview. In the second interview I thought it was best to limit the information about the study because it kept the questions and focus on just the attitudes on marriage. The questions used during the interviews are the following:

Research Questions

  1. Tell me some experiences that have shaped your attitudes about marriage?
  2. Describe how your perception on marriage might have changed if your parents remained married?
  3. In what ways do your religious beliefs influence your attitudes on marriage?
  4. Tell me how culture played a part in shaping in your attitudes on marriage?
  5. How do you think gender influences attitudes towards marriage?
  6. What are your thoughts about cohabitating before marriage?
  7. What are your thoughts on remarriage?
  8. What is your perception on arranged marriages?[B3]

Since the study uses human participation, IRB approval is required to ensure that there is little to no harm towards to the participants. In addition, participants were informed of the study and required to sign a consent form prior to the beginning[B4] of the interview.


A huge factor that is seen as a major influence towards the attitudes of marriage is being raised by a divorced single parent, however both participants claimed that if their parents remained married they’d still have the same views they have now. Participant 1 claims that if they (parents) remained married, I think my attitude would still be how it is now. Similar to the first response, participant 2 said I think I would still think the way that I do now but I would be a little more optimistic. Participants shared some of their experiences on marriage and family which have had more of influence on their attitudes, than that of being raised by a divorced single parent. For instance, Participant 1 feels that having a family of her own has had had a bigger impact on her beliefs and attitudes on marriage than the way she was brought up. As for participant 2, she believed that being observant of other relationships has had an impact towards her attitudes of marriage. However, there are many other factors such as religion, culture, and gender that shape us differently and have influences towards the attitudes of marriage.

Throughout the years we have seen a lot gender inequality, and gender still impacts a lot of attitudes and beliefs people have. Both participants believed that gender does play huge role in how it shapes one’s attitudes towards marriage. Participant 1 feels that, with women it is expected of the females I feel that we were all trained as little babies to grow up, and to look forward to a wedding. From a very young age women have had a bigger exposure to the idea of marriage than men. The biggest advertisement of marriage is seen in all the princess fairytales about meeting prince charming, getting married and living happily ever after. Participant 2 thinks, society in general teaches women how to like start thinking about marriage at an earlier age than they do with men… you’re a little girl and you see these princesses getting married and you want to be like them I think it is definitely something that is more advertised more towards females and out in their minds. As for men, marriage isn’t something that is really talked about. They don’t really think about it until they reach adulthood and are in committed relationships. Marriage is seen and introduced in different ways and times based on the gender and those differences form different attitudes as well.

Religion has also been known to have a huge influence in the Hispanic community and their beliefs on marriage, but in recent years there has been a rise in premarital sex and cohabitation before marriage. When asked about religious beliefs having an influence of their attitudes on marriage, and how they felt about cohabitation both participants had different opinions in both matters. However, from asking both questions I came to a conclusion that they believed in marriage whether it is done so through the church or by civil matrimony. Participant 1 feels marriage is important and that there are exceptions towards marriage, although she doesn’t agree with it completely she thinks couples should, take the time to take that vow, even if it’s not by church, if it’s just in paper, it makes you that much more afraid to break the contract. As for participant 2, she felt cohabitating is an experience that helps you learn more about your partner know if you’re ready to take the next step towards marriage. I’m not as religious as I use to be. But I still believe in marriage just as much as I use to.

Ultimately it can be said that both participant might have had different factors that influenced their marriage attitudes but they still hold a strong value to marriage.


Forming Qqualitative interviews allow us to have a better understanding on what factors have or have not had a major impact on people’s attitudes towards marriage. Existing literature reports that when parents’ divorce, their children will tend to inherit the same attitudes toward marriage; sometimes making them more prone to having their marriages end in the same way (Branch-Harris, 2015). Although in this study both participants experienced divorce by being raised by a divorced single parent, marriage still held a high value for them. Implications suggest that becoming a parent, as one of the participant’s is, was a major factor in the participants’ Limitations found during the study, was that because the criteria were very specific it limited the number of people that could participate in the interview. opposing views and how it influenced their attitudes on marriage. Such findings could lead further interviews in which comparisons can be made between results from participants that are parents themselves, and those that are not. Limitations found during the study included the small number of participants in the study, limited number of questions and most importantly, the specificity of the criteria used to select the participants interviewed; it affected the number of participants available to me for the study. Although this study focused on participants raised by a divorced single parent, future studies can expand on what the results would be when participants were raised by single parents that have never married or a widowed single parent. Future directions deriving from the study presented, should include the replication of the same study applied to male participants and well as participants of other ethnicities, and study how their personal experiences, gender and religious beliefs, influence their attitudes toward marriage.

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Mexican American Women from a Divorced Single Parent Household. (2019, Jul 15). Retrieved February 5, 2023 , from

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