Attitudes of Mexican-American males in Fort Worth, Texas toward machismo and the church



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Purpose: The objectives of this study were to determine the understanding of the concept of machismo by Mexican-American males in Fort Worth, Texas, and to determine if the attitudes, toward machismo and the Church, of 69 selected males of low income are different from the attitudes held by 46 selected males in non-poverty income groups. An attempt was made to sustain a statistical hypothesis showing that there exists significant differences between the attitudes of poverty level income and non-poverty level income Mexican-American males. Methods: Sixteen questionnaire items delineating attitudes of machismo and attitudes toward the Church were tabulated to determine the extent to which these items significantly differentiated Mexican-American males in Fort Worth, Texas. The study sample, one hundred fifteen men from three Catholic parishes and two Community Agency centers, were dichotomized by poverty income and non-poverty income. The chi square test for significance of difference was used t analyze the data distributed by the dichotomized sample and cross-tabulated by the baseline characteristics. The chi square test was used also to analyze the responses to eight statements each of which attempts to define machismo, and eight statements each of which expresses an attitude toward the Church. Differences between poverty level income and non-poverty level income were considered significant at the .05 level of significance. The Contingency Coefficient was computer for eight items each of which significantly differentiated the sixty-nine selected males of low income from the forty-six selected males of non-poverty. Findings: 1. Some authors consider machismo a cultural value. Cohen and Hodges conducted a survey of Blacks, Mexican-Americans, and Anglos and found no significant differences in the attitudes of those persons in the lower socio-economic class. Jorge Lara-Bruad, the director of the Hispanic American Institute, also state that machismo is more a socio-economic than a cultural value. 2. Two of the descriptive characteristics significantly differentiated the poverty level income males from the non-poverty level income males. There was a higher proportion of poverty income males with less than high school education while more non-poverty level income males had a college degree. The majority of the non-poverty income group was engaged in semi-skilled or professional occupations while the majority of the poverty level group did unskilled or semi-skilled work. 3. Eight of the sixteen items in the attitude categories significantly differentiated the poverty level income males from the non-poverty level income males. The low income group believed that self-respect prevents Mexican-Americans' engaging in marches or protests which make them appear ridiculous in the public eye, but the majority of the higher level income group disagreed wit this. The poverty level income group believed that the need of money for the priest or a celebration prevents the reception of the sacraments in the Church .The poor also believed that Sunday attendance at Mass is unnecessary. The majority of both groups disagreed that women are the ones to attend church while both groups believed that the Church is more attentive to the upper and middle classes than it is to the poor. Bot groups also believed that the Church has taken the Mexican-American for granted and that the Church should engage in more social welfare activities. Even though more than half of both samples agreed on these items, the number of non-poverty level income men who disagreed caused the significant differentiation. 4. The statistical hypothesis can be sustained with regard to the attitude toward the Church category. The other attitude, that concerning machismo, sustained the null hypothesis of no difference and rejected the statistical hypothesis.



Self-perception., Self-actualization (Psychology), machismo, Mexican-American males, Fort Worth, Texas