Resistance, health, and latent tuberculosis infection: Mexican immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border

Res Theory Nurs Pract. 2007;21(3):185-97. doi: 10.1891/088971807781503729.


Mexican immigrants living in the U.S.-Mexico border region are confronted with different national explanations about latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and preventive treatment. The purpose of this study was to explore how a group of Mexican immigrant women (N = 8) at risk of LTBI treatment failure interpreted and ultimately resisted LTBI preventive treatment. A critical ethnographic methodology, grounded in asymmetrical power relations that are historically embedded within the U.S.-Mexico border culture, was used to examine the encounters between the participants and the health care provider. The study findings are discussed from the perspective of women who experienced oppression and resistance in the U.S.-Mexico border region, providing an account of how Mexican immigrant women become entangled in U.S.-Mexico TB health policies and through resistance manage to assert control over health care choices. In the context of the U.S.-Mexico border region, health care professionals must be skilled at minimizing asymmetrical power relations and use methods that elicit immigrant voices in reconciling differences in health beliefs and practices.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropology, Cultural
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arizona
  • BCG Vaccine / immunology
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Patient Compliance / ethnology*
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • BCG Vaccine