• Analysis of factors affecting sterilization rates for Puerto Rican women living in the Bronx, New York

      Greenberg, Karen Elfman; Palley, Howard A. (1992)
      The aim of the study was to explain the high incidence of sterilization using a sample of 2033 Puerto Rican women, ages 15-49 years collected by Fordham University between May 1985 to December 1986. The study examined three objectives: (1) to determine the differing rates of sterilization among Puerto Rican women born on the island, the mainland, and for those who migrate back and forth, (2) to investigate the sterilization behavior of Puerto Rican women in their context and determine to what degree the behavior is a result of socioeconomic and life event variables, and (3) to understand the various implications of sterilization behavior of women. Three hypotheses were tested for the first objective. The data indicated that island women had a higher rate of sterilization than mainland Puerto Rican, that mainland Puerto Rican women had a higher rate of sterilization than their white non-hispanic women counterparts and that van y ven women had the lowest sterilization rate. Two models were developed to explore the second objective and multivariate regression techniques were used to test the predictive power of the Model I socioeconomic variables while Model II used life event variables. In Model I, only income was found to be a good predictor of sterilization. All three Model II variables, number of children, age at first marriage and age at first birth proved to be good predictors of sterilization. For the third objective a qualitative instrument using 24 questions served as the cornerstone for 10 interviews with social work practitioners to compare practical experience and explore ethnic dilemmas in social work. Data extrapolated from the replies of the practitioners reinforced the findings for income in Model I and all Model II variables. The data demonstrated that insularity and machismo are at the core of Puerto Rican culture. Insularity has been fostered in the face of economic hardships while machismo is a lifestyle that does not allow Puerto Rican women to go beyond their traditional roles. These issues are crucial to understanding the pattern of fertility behavior for Puerto Rican women. The results from the comparison of sterilization rates, Model I and II variables and the interviews suggest that low income Puerto Rican women in the Bronx, New York remain insular and choose sterilization as the traditional method of Puerto Rican birth control.