The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Does Machismo Increase Self-Efficacy? Evidence From University Students in Nicaragua

Saturday, January 18, 2014
HBG Convention Center, Bridge Hall Street Level (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
René Olate, PhD, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Xiafei Wang, MSW, Doctoral Student, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Julio Argueta, JD, Assistant Professor, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua Leon (UNAN–Leon), Leon, Nicaragua
BACKGROUND & PURPOSE: Machismo is rooted in the history and culture of the Latin American region. There has long been a discourse in Latin America that prescribes gender roles, meaning men should be dominant while women be submissive and self-sacrificing (Valencia-Garcia et al., 2008). Additionally, Machismo is often related to negative male characteristics and behaviors, such as hypermasculinity, polygamy, "hard drinking", aggressiveness, violence, and sexism. However, scholars have redefined this conception identifying two dimensions: negative (Traditional Machismo) and positive (Caballerismo or chivalry). Using Arciniega et al. (2008)’s Machismo Scale, this study seeks to: a) assess gender differences across schools concerning the endorsement of machismo and general self-efficacy (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1995) and b) understand the relationship between machismo and self-efficacy.

METHODS: A random, stratified and proportional by school and gender sampling of university students from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua Leon was employed (N=965; 57.6% female, 42.4% male; M=19.7; SD=1.7). The survey instrument was translated from English into Spanish by bilingual researchers in the United States and pilot tested in Nicaragua. Data were collected in the main campus of UNAN-Leon in December of 2012. Independent samples T-test were used to assess gender differences in self-efficacy and the endorsement of machismo. Linear regression was employed to explore the association between the endorsement of traditional machismo and caballerismo and self-efficacy.

RESULTS: T-test showed differences between male and female students regarding the endorsement of traditional machismo (male M=3.20, SD=1.05; female=2.30, SD=.89; t(912)=1.94, p<.001) and caballerismo (male M=5.88, SD=1.02; female=5.71, SD=1.00; t(916)=11.8, p=.011) . There was no significant differences in terms of self-efficacy (male M=3.17, SD=.53; female=3.11, SD=.52; t(925)=1.94, p=.052) . Significant differences in traditional machismo were found across all schools. However, significant differences in terms of caballerismo were only found in the schools of Technology & Sciences and Medicine. Moreover, OLS suggested that there was no statistically significant association between the endorsement of traditional machismo and self-efficacy (β =-.04, p>.05). However, this picture changed after taking into consideration the gender factor. For female students, this negative relationship became statistically significant (β=-.12, p<.01) while for male students, this negative association remained not statistically significant (β=-.18, p>.05). Meanwhile, there was a positive and statistically significant association between the endorsement of caballerismo and self-efficacy for both male and female students (overall β=.26, p<.001; male β=.35, p<.001; female β=.18, p<.001).

CONCLUSIONS & IMPLICATIONS: Understanding cultural patterns is an important component of social work intervention and research. This study illuminates a complex aspect of the Latin American culture, analyzing gender differences among university students regarding the endorsement of machismo. More importantly, this study suggests the negative relationship between traditional machismo and self-efficacy for female students. Meanwhile, the endorsement of caballerismo has a positive association with self-efficacy for both male and female students. The distinctions between males and females regarding the endorsement of machismo have important implications for social work programs, specifically for interventions seeking to increase the empowerment of women and change stereotypes about masculinity and feminism in Latin America and the Latino culture in the US.