Graduate Students Gain Recognition
Two graduate students in the Counseling and Educational Psychology Department, Cynthia E. Guzmán and Ana Magallanes, have been recognized for their research on Marianismo (the traditional sexual code of behavior for Latinas that specifies feminine passivity, self-sacrifice, duty, honor, and sexual purity based on the cult of the Virgin Mary).
Guzmán, a doctoral student, has received the American Psychological Association’s Division 35 Section III Latina Student Scholar Award for her dissertation proposal, Towards a new conceptualization of marianismo: Validation of the Guzmán Marianismo Inventory (GMI). The GMI measures a new conceptualization of Marianismo that takes into account the evolving gender roles of Latinas in the contemporary world. Guzmán asserts that the GMI, with additional evidence of validity and reliability, will support a more comprehensive view of Latina gender roles. She believes that blind acceptance of the phenomenon of marianismo will perpetuate stereotypic views of Latinas. Guzmán’s re-conceptualization builds on a depiction of the Virgin Mary as more assertive, courageous, and influential than the traditional view—a model that is more relevant for 21st century Latinas. Thus, her GMI was found to assess underlying constructs of marianismo: the Latino cultural value of familismo, the highly endorsed traditional perspective of marianismo (i.e. self sacrifice and passivity), and, in addition, her newly conceptualized feminist-theological perspective of marianismo (namely, servant leadership). In all, 292 latina adults responded to Guzmán’s survey as part of her initial validation studies of the GMI.
Magallanes has studied the relationship between Marianismo beliefs and perspectives on condom use. The literature suggests that Latinas seldom self-advocate in the practice of condom use but rather yield to the preferences of their male partners. In her own research, Magallanes has found that the constructs of Marianismo play a significant role in the decisions of Latina females to either insist on or forego condom use during sexual activity. Magallanes’ research also addresses the effect of alcohol consumption on responsible sexual behavior. For this aspect of her work, she was awarded the Steven David Judd Memorial Scholarship by the NMSU Wellness, Alcohol & Violence Education Program.