Exploring the Role of Marianismo and Loneliness in Latinas’ Physical and Mental Well-Being

Monica L. Gallegos, Chris Segrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The goal of this study is to better understand the role of social relationships and traditional gender norms in Latina health. Utilizing Hawkley and Cacioppo’s theoretical model of loneliness and health as a framework, loneliness is proposed as a key component in the relationship between the Latina gender norm of marianismo and health. Participants were 178 female adults who identified as Latina (N = 97) or non-Latina White (N = 81), ranging in age from 19–88, who completed measures of loneliness, marianismo, depression, overall health, and health practices. Results indicate that being Latina was associated with family pillar marianismo, which includes characteristics centered on women’s roles as the core of the family, that was associated with lower loneliness, and lower loneliness was subsequently associated with better overall health, lower depression, and beneficial health practices. However, being Latina had no association with silencing self to maintain harmony marianismo, that in turn had no association with loneliness, or health outcomes. These results suggest that elements of marianismo can play a protective role in Latina health and well-being, particularly when Latinas endorse the positive aspects of the gender norm that place women at the center of their families. Results also help explain the Latino health paradox by providing more specificity in the links between Latina ethnicity and positive health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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