Three Essays on Gender, Acculturation, and Family among Mexican Origin Men and Women in the United States: Diet and Housework

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Sanchez Quiros, Susana M
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
July 09, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Jennifer Lynne Van Hook, Dissertation Advisor
  • Jennifer Lynne Van Hook, Committee Chair
  • Michelle Lynn Frisco, Committee Member
  • Steven Andrew Haas, Committee Member
  • Sarah A Damaske, Outside Member
  • wayne osgood , Committee Member
  • acculturation
  • mexicans
  • gender
  • immigrants
  • diet
  • housework
  • family
  • nativity
  • diet americanization
This dissertation contributes to the literature on gender and acculturation by investigating three important research questions. The first chapter uses data from the 2003/2004 to 2013/2014 National Health and Nutrition Surveys (NHANES) to test whether the gendered consumption of ethnic food commonly observed in qualitative studies is also seen among a nationally representative sample of Mexican immigrants. I explore whether gender differences in levels of U.S. exposure explain gender differences in diet Americanization and whether the process linking exposure to American culture to diet Americanization varies by gender. Results indicate that Mexican immigrant women eat less Americanized diets than their male counterparts, which suggests that immigrant women are the designated “keepers of culture.” The second dissertation chapter uses the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) 2003-2016, to test whether and how relative earnings, absolute earnings and hours of paid work predict housework among married Mexican-origin men and women. I find that relative earnings, absolute earnings and hours of paid work predict housework in ways that challenge findings in qualitative studies. The third chapter analyzes ATUS data (2003-2016) to test how nativity differences in family composition, marital characteristics, time availability and economic resources may produce population-level differences in housework between foreign and U.S-born Mexican origin women. The findings challenge the assumption that social incorporation is the main or only explanation of nativity differences in housework.