The acculturation of middle income Hispanic households

Cecilia Maria Alvarez, Florida International University


Research on the consumer behavior of the Hispanic population has recently attracted the attention of marketing practitioners as well as researchers. This study's purpose was to develop a model and scales to examine the acculturation process of Hispanic consumers with income levels of $35,000 and above, and its effects on their consumer behavior. The proposed model defined acculturation as a bilinear and multidimensional change process, measuring consumers' selective change process in four dimensions: language preference, Hispanic identification, American identification, and familism. A national sample of 653 consumers was analyzed. The scales developed for testing the model showed good to high internal consistency and adequate concurrent validity. According to the results, consumers' contact with Hispanic and Anglo acculturation agents generates change or reinforces consumers' language preferences. Language preference fully mediates the effects of the agents on consumers' American identification and familism; however, the effects of the acculturation agents on Hispanic identification are only partially mediated by individuals' language preference change. It was proposed that the acculturation process would have an effect on consumers' brand loyalty, attitudes towards high quality and prestigious brands, purchase frequency, and savings allocation for their children. Given the lack of significant differences between Hispanic and Anglo consumers and among Hispanic generations, only savings allocation for children's future was studied intensively. According to these results, Hispanic consumers' savings for their children is affected by consumers' language preference through their ethnic identification and familism. No moderating effects were found for consumers' gender, age, and country of origin, suggesting that individual differences do not affect consumers' acculturation process. Additionally, the effects of familism were tested among ethnic groups. The results suggest not only that familism discriminates among Hispanic and Anglo consumers, but also is a significant predictor of consumers' brand loyalty, brand quality attitudes, and savings allocation. Three acculturation segments were obtained through cluster analysis: bicultural, high acculturation, and low acculturation groups, supporting the biculturalism proposition.

Subject Area

Marketing|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Alvarez, Cecilia Maria, "The acculturation of middle income Hispanic households" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3165141.