Assessing Cultural Assimilation of Mexican Americans: How Rapidly Do Their Gender-Role Attitudes Converge to the U.S. Mainstream?


  • *Direct correspondence to Dejun Su, 1201 W. University Dr., Edinburg, TX 78539 〈〉. Upon request, Dejun Su will share all data and coding information with those wishing to replicate the study. An earlier version of the article was presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco. We thank Sion Lee, Angelique Solis, and Omar Camarillo for their comments.


Objective. This study assesses the pace of cultural assimilation of Mexican Americans by comparing changes in their gender-role attitudes over generations to the European-origin U.S. mainstream.

Methods. Using cumulative data from the 1972–2004 General Social Survey, we examine the rate at which progressive generations of Mexican Americans approach the mainstream gender-role attitudes. We also employ a set of logistic regressions to assess the differences in gender-role attitudes between Mexican and European Americans.

Results. For five out of the eight gender-role-related questions considered in the study, Mexican Americans of the third or later generations show more liberal or egalitarian gender-role attitudes than those of the first or second generations. A comparison between Mexican and European Americans suggests that Mexican Americans in the sample have more conservative gender-role attitudes than European Americans in terms of division of labor at home and women's participation in politics.

Conclusion. Mexican Americans become more likely to adopt egalitarian gender-role attitudes as generation progresses. The differences between Mexican and European Americans in terms of gender-role attitudes are sensitive to the particular domains of attitudes under consideration.