The little red horns are called cornecelli and are good luck charms

Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Italian American Culture

Larry Purnell, PhD, RN, FAAN

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Overview/Heritage

Italian American immigrant groups include

  • First-generation, traditional older Italians primarily living in enclaves
  • Second-generation, less traditional Italians living in suburban and urban neighborhoods with ethnic enclaves
  • Third-generation, more educated Italians primarily living in the suburbs
  • A relatively small group of newer immigrants with strong ties to their homeland

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Overview/Heritage

  • This presentation describes the beliefs and practices of Italian Americans from the mainland of Italy, although some of these characteristics may be shared by Italian Americans with a heritage from Sicily and Sardinia.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Overview

    • Italy is famous for the marvels of ancient Rome, such as the Coliseum, Parthenon, museums. Also famous for St. Peter’s Square, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the canals and Piazza in Venice, the ruins of Pompeii, artists, and the Portofino lace makers, wineries, and marble.
    • New York City has the largest Italian population of any city in the country.

 

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Overview/Heritage

  • In addition to New York, other states with high Italian populations are New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and California.
  • Major cities in addition to NYC hosting large Italian Americans populations include Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Boston, Newark, New Jersey, and San Francisco.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Overview/Heritage

  • Italian enclaves, or “Little Italy’s” as they are called, can be found in New York City, Boston, Cleveland, and other major cities in the US.
  • The current Italian American population of almost 16 million ranks fifth in the United States, preceded by German, Irish, English, and African Americans.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • The official language of Italy is Italian, a Romance language derived from Latin.
  • All socioeconomic groups in the 19 regions of Italy speak different dialects.
  • The dialects of northern Italy contain numerous German words. Spanish, French, and German languages influence Neapolitan Italy.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • Piedmontese is strongly affected by the French and Spanish languages, whereas the dialects of Sicily have been strongly influenced by French, Spanish, Greek, Albanian, and Arabic languages.
  • Sardinia has its own language, Sardinian.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • First-generation Italians who immigrated to America bring the dialects of their region with them.
  • Today, in some second-generation and third-generation Italian homes, these dialects are still spoken.
  • Many second-generation Italian Americans do not speak Italian well or at all.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

 

  • Either their parents encouraged them to learn English, or more often, the children refused to speak the mother tongue.
  • Often the next generation becomes curious about its background and tries to recover parts of its heritage.
  • A number of third-generation Italian Americans are studying Italian in an effort to reconnect with their Italian heritage.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • Grammatically correct Italian is musical and romantic because vowels predominate over consonants, expressing the many subtleties of thought and feeling in a delicate manner.
  • In many Italian households, discussions can become quite passionate with vocal volume raised and many people speaking at once.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • The willingness to share thoughts and feelings among family members is a major distinguishing characteristic of the Italian American family.
  • Positive and negative emotions and sentiments are permissible, encouraged, and color their daily lives.
  • Many times a fluctuating emotional climate exists within the family with expressions of affection erupting briefly into what may appear to an outsider as anger or hostility.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • Conflict is usually confined to periodic outbursts and does not usually cause resentment or open and permanent ruptures.
  • In fact, emotional neutrality to Italians denotes noninvolvement or the absence of affection.
  • Italians are sentimental and not afraid to express their feelings.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • Traditional Italian Americans value close family ties, express warmth freely, and have heart and feeling for each other.
  • The emotional bond among Italian Americans is reaffirmed by frequent kissing.
  • The “typical” kiss is eastern European style, with a kiss on each cheek.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • They frequently touch and embrace family and friends. Touching between men and women, between men, and between women is frequently seen during verbal communication.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • It is said that the Italians from southern Italy are capable of carrying out a conversation without saying a single word.
  • Gestures convey a range of feelings from poetic eloquence to intense anger.
  • Italians are past, present, and future oriented.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • Past orientation is evidenced by the pride they take in their rich Roman heritage.
  • Within the context of fatalism, they do not allow their imagination to stray too far, occupy themselves with concrete problems and situations, and accept things.
  • They are future oriented as evidenced by the importance given to planning ahead and saving financially for the future.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • Time orientation varies by immigrant group.
  • First-generation and newer immigrants view time as an approximation rather than categorically imperative.
  • Second-generation and third-generation Italian Americans adhere to clock time at least in the work situation and for appointments. For this group, deadlines and commitments are considered important and adhered to firmly.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • Before the Napoleonic era, last names were not commonly used in southern Italy.
  • After the Napoleonic era ended in 1814, the French often assigned to a family, or sometimes an entire village, the name of that village.
  • The contadini peasant custom was to name first children for their grandparents and later children for their godparents.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Copyright © 2013 F.A. Davis Company

Communication

  • To avoid confusion, they instituted a practice of assigning nicknames according to some physical characteristic or their occupation.
  • For example, Giovanni Pelo is translated as “Johnny one hair”. This nickname was given because his body was covered with dark hair.
  • This practice of assigning nicknames continues with many Italian American families.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • In the past, an Italian father’s decision may have been accepted as law even among his married children.
  • To criticize one’s father is considered a sacrilege.
  • In many traditional Italian American families today, the father continues to dominate family decisions as long as he remains in good health and is the chief breadwinner.
  • He is known as the Padrone or capo di famiglia, the “head of the family.”

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • In old age and illness, the eldest son supersedes the father, but even then, the father retains much of his prestige.
  • The “typical” traditional Italian father frequently demonstrates public and private affection for his children, but such demonstrations are less frequent in public for his wife.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • Many husbands turn over their paychecks to their wives to run the home, and thus Italian women tend to have more power in economic decisions.
  • Women also dominate decision making on childbearing issues and family social events.
  • A trend toward more egalitarian relationships is evolving.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • Italian American children are taught to have good manners and respect for their elders.
  • Both male and female children are encouraged to be independent and expected to contribute to the family’s support as soon as they are old enough to work.
  • This work ethic continues in second-generation and third-generation families.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • L’ordine della famiglia, “family order,” a system of social attitudes, values, and customs, has proven to be impenetrable to the exploitation of strangers and is the main tie that holds the Italian American household together.
  • The rules governing family membership are simple and explicit: Fear God and respect the saints. The father is the father, and he is experienced. Always honor and obey your parents.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • Italian American families maintain close relationships.
  • Love and warmth, security, and the expression of emotions are the most common characteristics of the Italian American family.
  • Daughters have close ties with both parents, particularly as they approach old age.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • Although many second-generation and third-generation Italian Americans no longer live in an immediate Italian enclave, they return home frequently to maintain family, community, and ethnic ties.
  • While parents are alive, their home is most often the focus of kinship gatherings.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • Italian Americans are almost twice as likely as other ethnic groups to see a parent daily or at least several times a week.
  • If personal contact is not possible, frequent telephone contacts are made, sometimes several times a day.
  • Continuity in parental roles is an important factor in maintaining the high status of older people.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • The loss of the work role does not noticeably affect their central role in the family. Instead, the absence of the work role permits greater family involvement.
  • Italian Americans have an actively functioning kinship and extended family system that is the primary focus of solidarity for the nuclear family.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Family Roles and Organization

  • Social status for most Italian Americans families comes from family lineage.
  • Titles are more important than names.
  • Despite values clearly defined around family obligations, Italian Americans generally do not reject another family member because of an infraction or alternative lifestyle.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Workforce Issues

  • Italians believe strongly in the work ethic, are punctual, and rarely miss work commitments owing to a cold, headache, or minor illnesses.
  • If completing their work requires staying later, they do so.
  • Although the family is of utmost importance to Italians, work takes priority over family unless serious family situations arise.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Workforce Issues

  • Among Italian Americans, work is viewed as a matter of pride, demonstrating that one has become a man or woman and is a full functioning member of the family.
  • So strong is this ethic that it governs behavior apart from monetary gain derived from employment.
  • To Italian Americans, it is morally wrong not to be productively occupied. Poveri si, ma perche lognisi? (Poor yes, but why lazy?)

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Workforce Issues

  • Even though Italian Americans have the utmost respect for their employer, they are emotional and passionate people, and when a confrontation arises, Italians are likely to get involved.
  • Italians born and educated in the United States usually have little difficulty communicating with others in the workforce.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Biocultural Ecology

  • Italians as a group have varied physical characteristics.
  • Those from a predominantly northern background have lighter skin, lighter hair, and blue eyes, whereas those from the south of Rome, particularly from Sicily, have dark, often curly hair, dark eyes, and olive-colored skin.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Biocultural Ecology

  • People of Italian ancestry have some notable genetic diseases, such as familial Mediterranean fever, Mediterranean-type glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G-6-PD), -thalassemia, and recurrent polyserositis.
  • Italian Americans have a high incidence of hypertension and coronary artery disease related to smoking and perhaps their type A behavior.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Biocultural Ecology

  • Italian Americans have significantly higher risks of nasopharyngeal, stomach, liver, and gallbladder tumors.
  • Females exhibit a low risk for cancer of the oral cavity, esophagus, colon, rectum, and pancreas.
  • Males exhibit a low risk for cancer of the larynx, lung, melanoma, breast, prostate, bladder, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

High-risk Behavior

  • Although there is much education in the general population regarding the risks of smoking, many Italian Americans immigrants continue to smoke.
  • Alcohol misuse also presents a risk in this group.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Nutrition

  • To the Italian Americans, food is symbolic of life and the principal medium of life, particularly family life.
  • Respect for food as the medium of life is upheld even among the poor.
  • The ceremony of eating is honored by Italian Americans who convey to their children that the waste or abuse of food is a sin.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Nutrition

  • In an emotional sense, food is a connection between an Italian child and the parents, representing the product of the father’s labor and prepared with care by the mother.
  • In a symbolic sense, meals are a communion of the family, and food is sacred because it is the tangible medium of that communion.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Nutrition

  • An Italian mother may demonstrate her affection by feeding her family and anyone else she likes.
  • To the average Italian mom, love is a four letter word.
  • The Italian diet, rich in vegetables, pasta, fruit, fish, and cheese, varies according to the region of Italy from which the individual originated.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Nutrition

  • Northern Italian foods are rich in cream and cheese, resulting in a potential high intake of fat.
  • Southern Italian foods are prepared in red sauces, spices, and added salt.
  • The staples of the Italian Americans diet are spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli, pasta with pesto, and manicotti.
  • Vegetables, fresh fruit, and beans are common.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Nutrition

  • Popular Italian foods include lentils, sausage, eggplant parmigiana, salami, olive oil, espresso and cappuccino coffee, wine, ice cream (gelato), pastries such as cannoli and bisciotti, and cheeses such as provolone, ricotta, romano, and parmigiana.
  • Other common dishes include escarole, Caesar salad, calzone, and pizza.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Nutrition

  • Dinner is a gathering of the family. Italian wine is taken at almost every meal, and a mixture of water and wine is given to children.
  • Breakfast has never been an important meal for southern Italians.
  • Eating a fresh raw egg every morning, keeps the person strong.
  • Fresh dandelions are used to make a salad or are boiled to make soup to give the person strength.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Nutrition

  • One of the most common practices for health promotion is eating a clove of garlic every night before going to bed to prevent upper respiratory infections.
  • Garlic may also be worn around the neck when there is an epidemic of influenza or other upper respiratory ailments to prevent the wearer from getting the infection.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

ClickerCheck

Genetic conditions common Italians and Italian Americans is

Hemophilia

Polydactylism

Bi-polar disorders

Thalassemia

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Correct Answer

Correct answer: D

Thalassemia is a common genetic disorder among Italians and Italian Americans. The other conditions are not.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Pregnancy and Childbearing Practices

  • Many third-generation Italian Americans use birth control from the beginning of the marriage, and sex is commonly discussed in the family.
  • There continues to be a weakened external restriction on premarital sex, but internal inhibitions remain strong.
  • In the past, adultery was often seen as unacceptable but sometimes excusable.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Pregnancy and Childbearing Practices

  • Italy has some of the lowest birth rates in the world, which is surprising for a predominantly Catholic country.
  • Traditional ideas among Italian Americans regarding pregnancy have undergone slight but significant variations in the United States.
  • The belief that a mother does not conceive while nursing continues to be held by many Italian women.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Pregnancy and Childbearing Practices

  • Traditional beliefs related to pregnancy include the following: coffee spills may result in the baby being born with a birthmark where the coffee was spilled; the women must abstain from sexual relationships while pregnant; and if the expectant mother’s cravings for a particular food are not satisfied, a congenital anomaly may occur or the baby will be marked.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Pregnancy and Childbearing Practices

  • If a pregnant woman is not given the food she smells, the fetus moves and a miscarriage results.
  • If she turns or moves in a certain way, the fetus does not develop normally
  • She should not reach over her head because harm may come to the baby.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Pregnancy and Childbearing Practices

  • Among traditional Italian Americans, a postpartum woman is not allowed to wash her hair, take a shower, or resume her domestic chores for at least 2 or 3 weeks after birth so she can rest.
  • The woman’s mother and other female family members tend to the chores and assist with the care of the new baby.
  • New mothers are expected to breastfeed, restoring the health of the reproductive organs and keeping the mother and baby free of infections.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Death Rituals

  • In the Italian Americans family, death is a great social loss and brings an immediate response from the community.
  • Sending food and flowers (chrysanthemums), giving money, and congregating at the home of the deceased is expected.
  • As for other life events, among the first responses to death is food, which is brought by friends and distant relatives.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Death Rituals

  • Italian death rituals can be very demonstrative.
  • The funeral procession to the cemetery is a symbol of family status.
  • There is great pride in the size of the event, which is determined by the number of cars in the procession.
  • Although there is a tendency today to decrease the elaborateness of the funeral, it remains very much a family and community event.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Death Rituals

  • Grief over the deceased is eased if a biomedical explanation for the cause of death is given and if it is explained that the death was inevitable.
  • Within the context of fatalism in Catholicism, many Italian Americans view death as “God’s will;” thus, a fatal diagnosis may not be discussed with the ill family member.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Death Rituals

  • Emotional outpourings can be profuse and the activities around a funeral provide distinct examples of the Italian Americans way of ritualizing life events.
  • Women may mourn dramatically, even histrionically, for the whole family.
  • They do not merely weep; they may rage against death for the harm it has done to the family.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Death Rituals

  • Family members may moan and scream for the deceased throughout the church. Screaming is an effort to ensure that Jesus, Mary, and the saints hear what the bereaved are thinking and feeling.
  • Family members get up constantly to touch and talk to the deceased loved one.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Death Rituals

  • Children are taught to let the female kin express their feelings for them.
  • The real time of sorrow comes at the end of the ceremony when the priest and non-family congregation say good-bye to the deceased. At this time, the family is left alone for a time with their loved one.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Death Rituals

  • Older women may throw themselves onto the casket trying to prevent it from leaving the church. Then, the priest intones the farewell: “May the angels take you into paradise, may the martyrs welcome you on your way.”
  • While men mourn, they do so in the fashion of pazienza, “patience.” Their constant, silent, and expressionless presence may be their only act of public mourning.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Death Rituals

  • Today, second-generation and third-generation Italian Americans families still acknowledge the need for the mourning procession and the company of family and friends to grieve the loss of a loved one.
  • Abundant tears and moaning are still recognized as the proper expression of grief.
  • To many, giving up these customs means an improper expression of respect for the deceased.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Spirituality

  • The predominant religion of Italians and Italian Americans is traditional Roman Catholicism, which includes folk religious practices that have changed little since the birth of Christ.
  • Italian Americans’ spiritual and religious beliefs have their roots in pagan customs, magical beliefs, Mohammedan practices, Christian doctrines, and Italian pragmatism.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Spirituality

  • The center of Roman Catholic worship is the celebration of Mass, the Eucharist, which is the commemoration of Christ’s sacrificial death and of His Resurrection.
  • Other sacraments are baptism, first holy communion, confirmation, confession, matrimony, ordination, and anointing of the sick.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Spirituality

  • Most Italians pray to the Virgin Mary, the Madonna, and a number of saints. Many traditional Italian Americans families display shrines to the Blessed Virgin in their backyards.
  • Italian Americans view God as an all-understanding, compassionate, and forgiving being.
  • Prayer and having faith in God and saints help Italian Americans through illnesses.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Spirituality

  • Italian men bypass praying to the Madonna because women are perceived to have a closer relationship with the Madonna.
  • Family and religious beliefs give strength to Italian Americans, who see themselves first as family members and then as individuals.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

In traditional terms, illnesses are attributable to

  • a) wind currents that carry disease,
  • b) contamination,
  • c) heredity,
  • d) supernatural (God’s will) or human causes, and
  • e) psychosomatic interactions.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • Within the context of fatalism, diseases largely run their own course.
  • The condition, evil eye, caused by supernatural human agents is discussed under “Folk Practices.”
  • Nervousness, hysteria, and many other mental illnesses are attributed to an evil spirit entering the body and remaining in the body until it is cast out by making its abiding place so unpleasant that it is forced to leave.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • The concept of family, the most dominant influence on the individual, is viewed as the most credible source of health-care practices.
  • Italians believe that the most significant moments of life should take place under their own roofs.
  • The extended family is the front-line resource for intensive advice on emotional problems.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • Mental health specialists are frequently perceived as inappropriate agents for meeting problems that are beyond the expertise of the family and local community.
  • Most second-generation and third-generation Italians take responsibility for their own health care and engage in health promotion more than those of the first generation.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • The mother assumes responsibility for the health of the children.
  • Individuals can protect themselves from the evil eye by using magical symbols and by learning the rituals of the maghi, “witch.”
  • Amulets, that fight off the evil eye, include teeth, claws, and replicas of animal horns that are worn on necklaces or bracelets, held in a pocket, or sewn into clothing.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • Cornicelli, “little red horns,” can still be purchased in Little Italies as good luck charms. Italian Americans may bring these amulets with them into the health-care settings.
  • Common plant items used in folk healing are olive oil, lemon juice, wine, vinegar, garlic, onion, lettuce, and tobacco.
  • A crown of lemon leaves cures a headache.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • The leaves and flowers of the wild mallow herb, Malva, are used to make tea, providing cool energy and positive effects on the lungs and stomach.
  • When suffering from a fever, a person is given hot rather than cooling drinks.
  • For indigestion, a mixture of coffee grounds and sugar is taken.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • Some Italian mothers use early morning saliva to bathe the eyes of children with conjunctivitis.
  • Baldness is treated with an application of warm cow’s urine.
  • Sulfur and lemon juice are mixed as an ointment for scabies, and potato or lemon slices are bound to the wrists to reduce fever.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • Both age and gender mediate ethnic differences in the expression of pain for Italian Americans.
  • Older Italian Americans, especially women, are more likely to report pain experiences, express symptoms to the fullest extent, and expect immediate treatment. Italians tend to be more verbally expressive with chronic pain than do some other ethnic groups.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • Because Italian Americans tend to report more symptoms and report them more dramatically, physicians tend to diagnose emotional problems in Italian patients more frequently than in other ethnic groups.
  • Most Italian Americans believe that people who have disabilities should be cared for at home by the family; thus, very few are placed in long-term care facilities.
  • A physical or mental disability is not stigmatized because the condition is believed to be due to God’s will.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • The sick role for many is one not entered into without personal feelings of guilt.
  • They may keep sickness a secret from family and friends and are not inclined to describe the details because they blame themselves for the health problem.
  • Families may be ashamed to let neighbors know of an incident that may impair the social status of a family member.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practices

  • When a family member is sick, other women in the family take over and assist the sick person until they are well.
  • Judicious use of medications and blood transfusions are permissible and morally acceptable as long as the benefits outweigh the risks to the individual.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practitioners

  • The powers of the occult are not limited to saints.
  • For traditional Italian Americans, certain humans are believed to have immediate and potent access to magical powers. These are the maghi, “male witch” and the maghe, “female witch,” who are granted various degrees of black magic power at birth.
  • These traditional beliefs hold little value for second-generation and third-generation Italian Americans.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Health-care Practitioners

  • Italians for the most part respect all health-care providers, irrespective of gender.
  • Some may prefer a same sex health-care provider for intimate care.

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

ClickerCheck

Mario and Maria Martinelli bring their 7 month old baby to the physician for a well baby check. The baby’s shirt has an amulet with little red horns on it. These horns are called

Cornecelli.

Malva.

Padrone.

Madrone.

 

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Transcultural Health Care: A Culturally Competent Approach, 4th Edition

Correct Answer

Correct answer: A

The little red horns are called cornecelli and are good luck charms.

 

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