The role of older siblings in the sexual and reproductive health of Mexican-origin young women in immigrant families

Cult Health Sex. 2017 Feb;19(2):151-164. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1212997. Epub 2016 Aug 10.


In the USA, young people of Mexican-origin are more economically disadvantaged and experience higher birth rates than many other Latino groups. In this paper, we examine the influence of older siblings on the sexual and reproductive health of Mexican-origin immigrant women. Qualitative data were drawn from life history interviews with 21 first- and second-generation Mexican-origin women, aged 27-41 years old, resident in the Metro Denver area. Data suggest that older siblings may protect younger sisters from risky sexual behaviours through older siblings' responsibility and care for younger siblings, close and supportive sibling relationships, older siblings' advice about both sexual health and academic success, and sibling modelling. These mechanisms appear particularly protective due to the social and economic hardships immigrant families often face. Implications include fostering healthy sibling relationships and involving older siblings more fully in the sexuality education of younger siblings.

Keywords: Mexican-American; Sexual behaviours; USA; migrants; siblings; young women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / ethnology
  • Adult
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mexican Americans*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Reproductive Health / ethnology*
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology
  • Sibling Relations / ethnology*
  • Social Behavior
  • United States