The ties that heal: Guatemalan immigrant women's networks and medical treatment

Cecilia Menjívar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Using participant observation and in-depth interviews with ladina and indigenous Guatemalan immigrant women, this article examines the intricate social networks - both local and transnational - through which these immigrants obtain treatment for their own and their families' illnesses. Although Guatemalan women also relied on ties with friends, families and acquaintances to obtain a cure in their country, these ties acquire more significance within the broader U.S. politicoeconomic context that restricts their medical choices. Under these conditions, these women's informal networks become key in putting within reach a variety of treatments that include prescription drugs (obtained over the counter) and "traditional" medicines, which are acquired both locally and from contacts back home. Giving and receiving help through these social networks, however, is a negotiated process punctuated by disillusions, tension, and frustration as much as by cohesiveness and support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-466
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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