In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Latinos and Latinas

  • Introduction
  • Introductory Works
  • General Overviews
  • Textbooks
  • Guides and Monographs
  • Journals
  • Immigration and Migration
  • Acculturation
  • Education
  • Poverty
  • Latino and Latina Diversity
  • Latino and Latina Cultural Values
  • Physical Health
  • Access to Health Care
  • Substance Use
  • Professional Associations

Social Work Latinos and Latinas
Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, Kosta Kalogerogiannis
  • LAST REVIEWED: 14 December 2009
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195389678-0065


Latinos and Latinas are the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the United States, and a growing body of social work scholarship is focused on supporting Latino and Latina health and well-being. Social workers provide services to Latinos and Latinas in a variety of modalities, including via direct practice, program development, advocacy, research, and policy. This entry provides an overview of resources, topics, and issues relevant for social workers interested in working with Latinos and Latinas. The references are focused on Latino- and Latina-specific resources, with the majority of references deriving from social work knowledge and literature; however, references from allied disciplines that focus on Latinos and Latinas also are included. In the United States the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” often are used interchangeably. Since both terms refer to one ethnic group, the references in the bibliography use both terms. Although Latinos and Latinas are often discussed as a single ethnic group, social workers should be mindful of the diversity both within and across Latino and Latina subgroups that may influence social work with Latino and Latina individuals, families, and communities.

Introductory Works

Social workers interested in historical and contemporary issues surrounding Latinos and Latinas in the United States should find the texts in this section informative. Marotta and Garcia 2003 uses census data to present a sociodemographic profile of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. Cafferty and Engstrom 2002 provides a historical overview of Hispanics in the United States, and the text is a good reference for faculty and students. Abalos 2007, Acuña 2003, and Suárez-Orozco and Páez 2002 provide informative summaries of the major issues affecting Latinos and Latinas. In addition Gutiérrez, et al. 2000 reviews contemporary social work scholarship on Latinos and Latinas and discusses future implications for social work education. Two excellent resources for faculty teaching direct practice courses focused on Latino and Latina families are Organista 2007, which synthesizes best practices in health and psychosocial issues, and Zambrana 1995, which reviews the strengths and resilience of Latino-Latina-Hispanic groups through a review of early 21st century issues facing Latino and Latina families.

  • Abalos, David T. 2007. Latinos in the United States: The sacred and the political. 2d ed. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.

    An overview of the early 21st-century issues affecting Latinos and Latinas in the United States, such as bilingual education, the increase of Latino and Latina professionals and its impact on social class, and the intersection between international and national Latino and Latina politics.

  • Acuña, Rudolfo. 2003. U.S. Latino issues. Portsmouth, NH: Greenwood.

    Acuña reviews some of the major issues faced by Latinos and Latinas, including race classification, assimilation, bilingual education, affirmative action, and marriage. Issues are presented with historical background and in the context of early 21st-century views.

  • Cafferty, Pastora S. J., and David W. Engstrom, eds. 2002. An agenda for the twenty-first century: Hispanics in the United States. New Brunswick, NJ, and London: Transaction.

    An edited volume that provides demographic and cultural information as well as a historical overview of Hispanics in the United States. Chapters address topics such as immigration, health care, language, social welfare, and criminal justice in order to help develop an effective policy agenda.

  • Gutiérrez, Lorraine, Anna Yeakley, and Robert Ortega. 2000. Educating students for social work with Latinos: Issues for the new millennium. Journal of Social Work Education, o.s. 36, no. 3: 541–557.

    Gutiérrez and colleagues provide a clear introduction to Latinos and Latinas for social work students. The authors comprehensively review social work articles on Latinos and Latinas published in peer-reviewed social work journals since 1975. Topics and research trends are outlined, and the implications of these trends for social work education are presented.

  • Marotta, Sylvia A., and Jorge G. Garcia. 2003. Latinos in the United States in 2000. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, o.s. 25, no. 1: 13–34.

    DOI: 10.1177/0739986303251693

    A sociodemographic profile of Latinos and Latinas in the United States based on data from the 2000 decennial census. The article discusses family and household information, socioeconomic status, educational attainment, health, and disability.

  • Organista, Kurt C. 2007. Solving Latino psychosocial and health problems: Theory, practice, and populations. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    A synthesis of best practices for social work practitioners working with Latinos and Latinas. Relevant social science theories and frameworks are presented that focus on the cultural and social experiences of Latinos and Latinas. Best practice models in areas such as health, mental health, and social policy are presented.

  • Suárez-Orozco, Marcello M., and Mariela M. Páez, eds. 2002. Latinos: Remaking America. Berkeley: University of California Press.

    Provides a wide-ranging look into the lives of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. Contributions from leading scholars in Latino and Latina studies in the areas of immigration, race, labor, health, language, education, and politics are included.

  • Zambrana, Ruth E., ed. 1995. Understanding Latino families: Scholarship, policy, and practice. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

    An edited volume focused on Latino and Latina families. Contributions highlight cultural and familial processes that enhance resiliency. Social and demographic profiles of Latino and Latina groups are presented, as are empirically tested practice approaches for working with Latino and Latina families.

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