(Re)considering the Role Familismo Plays in Latina/o High School Students’ College Choices




Martinez, Melissa A.

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University of North Carolina Press


This qualitative study examines the role familismo (Marín & Marín, 1991) played in 20 Latina/o high school seniors’ college choices. Familismo is the tendency to hold the wants and needs of family in higher regard than one’s own and has been considered a common trait of Latina/o families. Interviews with students and secondary school counselors revealed this trait may be a common value upheld by Latina/o families but is also a reflection of structural forces outside the family unit. Findings highlight ways students negotiated the options of attending a university close to home to benefit from familial support and/or financially contribute to the family; leaving the region for college in order to ensure a “better life” for themselves and their families; or compromising by beginning at a regional institution and later transferring to another university. High school personnel, and others assisting Latina/os with their college choices should consider such findings.



familismo, high school students, college choices, Latina/o families


Martinez, M. A. (2013). (Re)considering the role familismo plays in Latina/o high school students’ college choices. The High School Journal, 97(1), pp. 21–40.


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© 2013 The University of North Carolina Press.

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