"Mi casa es su casa": Beginning exploration of Mexican Americans' natural helping

Shirley L. Patterson, Flavio Marsiglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This article presents the findings of a pilot study on natural helping among Mexican Americans conducted in a large urban area of the Southwest. Twelve community-identified natural helpers were interviewed using the "Natural Helper Interview Schedule" utilized in previous studies in other parts of the country with European American subjects. As expansion of the earlier studies, the interview schedule was translated into Spanish and assessed for cultural appropriateness. The similarities found between the findings of the Mexican American sample and previous samples may suggest that natural helping is a cross-cultural phenomenon. At the same time, the unique trends identified among Mexican American respondents may indicate a stronger family connection to natural helping processes in this community. Respondents narrated the helping incidents as if the recipients and providers of help were all family members. A series of common trends emerged from the data gathered on helping incidents. Some of these trends suggest that natural helpers assisting recent immigrants used a doing type of helping style, but a facilitating style of helping was also reported for other recipients. Although these findings cannot be generalized, they provide important information about community-based natural helping networks and provide beginning comparisons about natural helping characteristics among different ethnic groups. These findings can be of use by practitioners and policy makers as they attempt to reach the Mexican American community in a culturally competent manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalFamilies in Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of '"Mi casa es su casa": Beginning exploration of Mexican Americans' natural helping'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this