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Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

Religion & Spirituality

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“God balances life…because if we cannot overcome pain, we wouldn’t know what happiness is…we have to go through pain.” Olga

annointing of the sick by a priest

Religion and Health

Latinos view health and religion as one; sickness can be caused by supernatural forces such as evil spirits.  For Latinos as well, the idea of suffering is in harmony with the Christian belief of “bearing one’s cross” and that “suffering cleanses the soul.”  Latinos also believe that death is in God’s hands; people die when God wants them to die so no one should interfere with God’s decisions.  These set of beliefs have significant consequences for Latino health, such as:

  • Dismissal or discounting of risk factors
  • Reluctance to seek preventive services or early care
  • A high threshold of tolerance for pain
  • Search for health care only when conditions or pain interfere with duties or activities such as working and care giving
  • The view that pain is something to put up with.
  • The view that women should be self- sacrificing and provide for others even at the expense of their own care

changing faiths latinos and transformation of American religions


Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Adriana Carrasco in fulfillment of requirements for the course TCL 323 : Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Fall 2009.