Cultural Competency and Haitian Immigrants


Family Roles and Organization ... page 2

Purnell's Model

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Family roles & organization
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Workforce issues

Biocultural ecology

High-risk behaviors

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Death rituals

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Health care practices
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Health care practitioners




Family Roles and Priorities

  • Children are viewed as a gift from God and must be well cared for to fulfill God's blessing.4, 21, 38, 39 Because they are so cherished, the whole family and, sometimes the community, feel responsible for raising the child. For Haitians in the U.S. this may lead to sending a child back to Haiti to be raised, or it may lead to having a child sent from Haiti to the U.S. to stay at a relative's home.4

  • Women in Haiti will go hungry so their children can go to school, and will feed the children before they eat.24

  • In Haiti, extended family networks can help with children. The lack of extended family and kin support has been noted to be one of the most difficult aspects of raising children in the United States.40, 41

  • Discipline of children is swift and physical which may be considered abuse by American standards.4, 15, 35, 40

  • Elderly parents often live with their children and a child  usually considers it an honor that a parent has chosen their home to live in.35

  • Elders are viewed as knowledgeable and their counsel is often sought.35

  • In rural areas of Haiti, extended families are common.21 

  • It is not uncommon for individuals to have two nuclear families, one in Haiti and one in the U.S. 4, 42

  • Gay and lesbian relationships in Haitian culture are not recognized.29, 30

  • In Haiti, there is a very large distinction between the upper and lower class with very little middle class. The upper class traditionally had lighter skin, more money, better education, was proficient in French, and controlled the government. 

  • Education is important to Haitians as it can improve social status.15, 21


    Family Roles and Organization:

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