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Latinx Use of Traditional Health Care: The Social Network Effect

hswStudies on access to health care among Latinx communities have overlooked (a) the use of traditional healers and (b) the role of social networks in seeking traditional healers.

A recent issue of the journal Health & Social Work, published by NASW Press, includes an article which describes a study of this issue. Framed within the network-episode model, the study aimed to examine the role of individual, institutional, and personal network systems in the use of curanderxs among Latinxs in the United States. [NOTE: Authors used the terms “Latinx” and “curanderx” to be inclusive of all gender identities.] Using a nationally representative sample of Latinx adults (N = 3,997) from the 2007 Hispanic Healthcare Survey, authors conducted multivariate logistic regression analyses to investigate the impact of individual, institutional, and personal network systems on the use of curanderxs.

The study found that respondents who believed in spiritual healing (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 3.06) and came from a household that used curanderxs (AOR = 13.4) were more likely to seek the help of curanderxs when in need of health care. The personal network system had most explanatory power in the use of curanderxs. The findings add insight to the integration of traditional medicine in the provision of health care services to Latinxs in the United States.

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The journal Social Work is a benefit of NASW membership. It is available online or, at a member’s request, in print. Children & Schools, Health & Social Work and Social Work Research are available by subscription at a discounted rate for NASW members, either online or in print. You can find out more about the journals and subscriptions at this link.

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