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Extended Family Ties Among Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Whites: Superintegration or Disintegration?*

Authors

  • Natalia Sarkisian,

    Corresponding author
      **Natalia Sarkisian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (natalia@sarkisian.net).
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  • Mariana Gerena,

    Corresponding author
      Mariana Gerena is a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute on Urban Health Research, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, Stearns 503, Boston, MA 02115 (m.gerena@neu.edu).
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  • Naomi Gerstel

    Corresponding author
      Naomi Gerstel is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and SADRI, Machmer Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (gerstel@sadri.umass.edu).
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  • *

    We gratefully acknowledge the helpful advice of Amy Armenia, Joya Misra, Sanjiv Gupta, Rachel Muñoz, Maureen Perry-Jenkins, Anne Roschelle, and the anonymous reviewers.

**Natalia Sarkisian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (natalia@sarkisian.net).

Mariana Gerena is a Senior Research Scientist at the Institute on Urban Health Research, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Avenue, Stearns 503, Boston, MA 02115 (m.gerena@neu.edu).

Naomi Gerstel is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and SADRI, Machmer Hall, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003 (gerstel@sadri.umass.edu).

Abstract

Abstract: Addressing recent theoretical debates, this study examined the differences in extended family integration among Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Whites, as well as the importance of culture and structure in explaining these differences. Our findings showed Whites and Latinos/as have distinctive patterns of extended family integration: Mexicans and Puerto Ricans exhibited higher rates of coresidence and proximate living than Whites; Whites had greater involvement in financial support than Mexicans or Puerto Ricans, but Mexicans were more involved in instrumental help. Structural factors such as income, education, and nuclear family composition explained much of these ethnic differences. The study’s findings suggest that policy should emphasize the unmet needs in Latino/a communities and the role of extended families.

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