Lucy Sosa

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Crawford, Cassandra

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Older women--Health and hygiene--United States; Chronically ill older women--United States--Social conditions; Older Mexican American women--United States--Social conditions


Older and chronically ill Mexican women living in a 21st century working class neighborhood confront many challenges. The challenge of being older and chronically ill are exacerbated by the multiple socially constructed identities of difference they embody, such as, race, gender, class, linguistic competence, immigration and educational status. In their search for health and wellbeing, these embodied differences constructed for the women a number of care-searching, care-receiving and health outcome experiences that reveal the effect these differences can have in the lives of members of a vulnerable population. The women's experiences also reveal their determination to gain access to affordable, safe and quality healthcare in spite of challenges and abuses. Applying the theory of intersectionality and grounded method throughout the analysis of the data reveal the burdensome effect that interlocking systems of domination have on the women's health and wellbeing. Furthermore, applying the theory of intersectionality and grounded method leads to a fuller understanding not only of the women as victims but as resisters of victimization through their acts of everyday resistance. The women's acts of resistance, successful and failed, demonstrate that it is not the individual's behavior nor the women's culture that got in the way of the women accomplishing health and wellbeing. Rather, the culpability for poor or impossible access to affordable, safe and quality healthcare services and for compromised health and wellbeing is based on social structures supporting the interest of dominant actors and institutions. More precisely, multiple constructs of difference intersect to construct a multiplicity of experiences of inequity and these together impact health and wellbeing outcome in a number of negative ways. Healthcare professionals, organizations and governments (local, state and national) should include grounded methods and the theory of intersectionality in their analysis of the life experiences of subjugated populations so that barriers can be exposed and best practices in healthcare can be implemented. A more comprehensive and grounded understanding by stakeholders of the lives of those that are systematically excluded from equity in healthcare will bring members of vulnerable populations closer to meeting their health and wellbeing goals.


Advisors: Cassandra Crawford.||Committee members: Diane Rodgers; Carol Walther.||Includes bibliographical references.


92 pages




Northern Illinois University

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