“She is Always Doing the Work"

Perspectives of Latino Adolescent Males about their Single Mothers


  • Christine Bishop Indiana University




culture, ethnicity, family work, parenting, race


Marianismo is a term that refers to the prioritization of Latina mothers in regard to their children and families. In defining as such, this term acknowledges how selfless Latina mothers are. This study utilized an adapted version of Narrative Analysis to explore the insights of Latino adolescent mentees when it comes to their experiences living with a single mother. Specifically, the participants’ narratives included their highly positive relationships with their mothers who exhibit many admirable qualities, they spoke about their varying relationships with their biological fathers, and they also discussed helpful, supportive father figures (i.e., natural mentors) in their lives. The Discussion section relates the study’s findings to Attachment Theory and Social LeMarianismo refers to the prioritization of Latina mothers concerning their children and families. This term acknowledges the selflessness of Latina mothers. This study explored the perceptions of thirteen Latino adolescent participants following their experiences of being raised by a single mother. To study this relationship, an adapted version of Narrative Analysis was used. While the analysis focused on participants’ relationships with their mothers, relationships with their biological fathers and other father figures (i.e., natural mentors) in their lives were explored. The study’s findings are contextualized through the lens of attachment theory, social learning theory, and the relevant literature. This study shines light on the important impact of mothers and natural mentors on the lives of Latino male adolescents. Social workers from varying professional domains who are working with Latino families can take the marianismo cultural value into account in their own interactions and services with their clients. Additionally, just as the Latino adolescents in this study were keenly aware of their mothers’ many positive values, strengths, and contributions to their lives, it is vital for social workers to do the same. arning theory, as well as relevant literature. This study shines light on the great impacts that mothers and natural mentors can have on Latino male adolescents.


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