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Monday, January 28, 2013

La Sicología de la Inmigración en el Siglo 21.

El tema de la salud mental y su relación con los problemas que enfrentan los inmigrantes al llegar a los Estados Unidos pasa a los primeros planos de interés entre los profesionales de de la sicología. Empieza a predominar la opinión de que es necesario un ajuste de los servicios de salud a las características culturales, lingüísticas y de la identidad de esa población. Los inmigrantes muchas veces son víctimas de discriminación,  rechazo, o segregación, todo lo cual afecta el proceso de su asimilación a la sociedad norteamericana y provoca desajustes desde el punto de vista mental y conductual, que requieren de atención social y sicológica.  Pero, si estos servicios son proveídos por personas que no conocen la cultura, ni el idioma, ni las costumbres y tradiciones familiares de sus pacientes, por supuesto, los tratamientos, terapias, o programas de ayuda, no serán efectivos. El siguiente articulo, publicado por APA( American Psychological Association) presenta un detallado análisis sobre este asunto, que es vital para la comunidad latina en este país. El articulo ha sido seleccionado y copiado por la autora de este blog.


Adaptation: Acculturation, cultural identity and civic engagement

Psychological acculturation refers to the dynamic process that begins when immigrants enter the new country and begin to adapt to its culture (Berry, 1980). Acculturation1 is often thought to be a matter of personal choice or preference (Berry, 1980), but the socioecological context it occurs in is important to consider. Acculturation occurs against the backdrop of the local community of resettlement (Schnittker, 2002) and the immigrant group’s experience in the larger society (Gibson, 2001). For example, while some may adopt the American culture quickly, immigrants in large urban areas with thriving ethnic communities may continue to stay connected to their native cultures (A. M. Miller, Birman, et al., 2009). Immigrants of color in particular may encounter discrimination that limits their acculturation options.
Immigrants’ age is also an important factor that shapes how acculturation unfolds. Children learn the new language and culture relatively quickly, while adults take longer, having been fully socialized into their heritage culture prior to migration. Acculturation to the new culture is particularly slow for immigrants of retirement age (Jang, Kim, Chiriboga & King-Kallimanis, 2007; A. M. Miller, Wang, Szalacha, & Sorokin, 2009;). Because such a variety of personal, community, and societal factors shape individual immigrants’ cultural experiences, acculturation refers to more than the mere passage of time in a new country, or one’s generational status (Schwartz, Pantin, Sullivan, Prado, & Szapocznik, 2006). Rather, there are diverse and multifaceted ways that immigrants navigate their way through living in a culture that is different from the one they were born into.
An important distinction has been made in psychology between acculturation and assimilation. Acculturation has been defined as a bilinear2 process occurring with respect to both the new and the heritage culture.3 Assimilation, on the other hand, refers to a particular type of acculturation that involves adopting the new culture while simultaneously letting go of attachment to the heritage culture. Early theories of acculturation assumed that such an either/or acculturation process was the only possible and desirable outcome for immigrants (Stonequist, 1937). However, today’s immigrants may acculturate to the American culture without severing their connection to the heritage culture, and some research suggests that there are advantages to biculturalism (Berry, 1980; LaFromboise, Coleman, & Gerton, 1993; Szapocznik, Scopetta, Kurtines & Aranalde, 1978).
Acculturation is a multidimensional process that involves changes in many aspects of immigrants’ lives. A number of dimensions of acculturation have been theorized and assessed in research, including language competence and use, cultural identity, attitudes and values, types of food and music preferred, media use, ethnic pride, ethnic social relations, cultural familiarity and social customs (see Yoon, Langrehr & Ong, 2010, for a review). Acculturation may occur in stages, with immigrants learning the new language first, followed by behavioral participation in the culture (Birman & Trickett, 2001; M. Gordon, 1964; R. M. Lee, Yoon, & Liu-Tom, 2006; cited in Yoon et al., 2010). Less observable aspects of acculturation, such as changes in identity and values, are thought to take longer than behavioral changes (Birman & Trickett, 2001; Marino, Stuart, & Minas, 2000). Thus, immigrants who have lived in the United States for a long time and appear to have adopted the American lifestyle may continue to maintain strong identification with, and hold the values of, their culture of origin. This has important implications for providing psychological services to this population (see Immigrant Populations in Clinical Contexts).
Language acculturation
Learning the new language is a critical task for immigrant adults and children in accessing the schooling and employment necessary for survival in the new country. For adults, learning a new language is more difficult than it is for children, and some never attain English-language fluency. But sociological research suggests that immigrant groups today are learning English (Waters & Jiménez, 2005), and language assimilation is occurring by the second and third generations as it did in prior immigration waves (Alba et al., 2002; U.S. Department of Education, 1995).
School-age immigrant children learn the new language relatively quickly, becoming conversationally fluent within 2 years after arriving in the new country, though cognitive-academic language proficiency takes much longer, 5 or more years (August & Shanahan, 2006; V. P. Collier, 1987; Cummins, 1984; Klesmer, 1994; Muñoz-Sandoval, Cummins, Alvarado & Ruef, 1998). English becomes the dominant language for most immigrant children within 4 to 5 years following immigration (Birman & Trickett, 2001), and for many, their native language atrophies (Wong Fillmore, 2000).
Behavioral acculturation
Behavioral acculturation refers to the extent of immigrants’ participation in their culture of origin and/or new culture. While adopting American ways, immigrant adults continue to participate in their heritage culture, have friendships with others from the same country with whom they can share interests and values, consume ethnic foods, and read/view native-language print and electronic media. Immigrant children, however, behaviorally adapt to the U.S. culture quickly. Adolescents in particular are exposed to American culture through movies, music, television and many other increasingly available electronic outlets. Even before immigrating, many youth have been exposed to, and perhaps have idealized, these aspects of American culture. The pull of American culture, with the freedoms it allows to young adults, can be very enticing. Perhaps for this reason, research suggests that acculturation to American culture is related to high-risk behavior for immigrant adolescents, including high-risk sexual behavior (Afable-Munsuz & Brindis, 2006; Jimenez, Potts & Jimenez, 2002; Upchurch, Aneshensel, Mudgal & McNeely, 2001), smoking, drinking (Castro, Stein, & Bentler, 2009; Gil, Wagner & Vega, 2000), and substance use (Chen, Unger, Cruz, & Johnson, 1999; Hahm, Lahiff & Guterman, 2003; Unger et al., 2002).
Cultural and ethnic identity
The ways in which immigrants identify with their heritage, host or both cultures is part of the acculturation process (Birman & Trickett, 2001; Phinney, 1990). National identity refers to immigrants’ sense of belonging to the new society (Phinney, Horenczyk, Liebkind, & Vedder, 2001; Verkuyten & Brug, 2001) and cultural or ethnic identity involves immigrants’ sense of belonging to, positive regard for, and pride in their native culture (Phinney, 1996). As with other types of acculturation, immigrants may assimilate (give up their native cultural identity and consider themselves American), identify themselves only with their native culture, or develop a “bicultural” identity. Some studies have found that a combination of strong ethnic identity and strong national identity promotes the best adaption for immigrants (Birman, Persky, & Chan, 2010; Deaux, 2006; Phinney et al., 2001; C. Suárez-Orozco & Suárez-Orozco, 2001).
However, studies have also found that when subjected to sustained discriminatory experiences, immigrant adolescents may not become bicultural (Berry, Phinney, Sam & Vedder, 2006) but may instead adopt “reactive identification,” embracing their cultural identity while rejecting American culture, after having been rejected by it (Birman & Trickett, 2001; Portes & Zhou, 1993; Rumbaut, Gonzales, Komaie, Morgan & Tafoya-Estrada, 2006; Sirin & Fine, 2008; C. Suárez-Orozco & Suárez-Orozco, 2001).
In a number of studies, strong identification with one’s ethnic group has been found to be associated with positive feelings toward the self for immigrant adolescents, producing more positive educational, health, and family outcomes, particularly for Latino adolescents (R. O. Martinez & Dukes, 1997; Phinney, Cantu, & Kurtz, 1997; N. Rodriguez, Mira, Páez, & Myers, 2007; Schwartz, Zamboanga, & Jarvis, 2007; Smokowski & Bacallao, 2007). Ethnic identity is theorized to be particularly beneficial to immigrants who encounter extensive discrimination in the host society (Deaux, 2006; Kasinitz, Mollenkopf, Waters, & Holdaway, 2008; C. Suárez-Orozco & Suárez-Orozco, 2000). At the same time, if the larger society expects immigrants to assimilate, becoming more “ethnic” in identity and behavior can elicit even further discrimination and marginalization. This may be one reason why a few recent studies with Asian college students (R. Lee, 2003, 2005) and Americans of Chinese descent (Yip et al., 2008) suggest that ethnic identity may not have a protective effect or may even exacerbate the impact of discrimination on mental health. These findings suggest that discrimination limits acculturative options, and even strong identification and positive regard for one’s own ethnic group can have negative consequences for mental health, as may be the case for Asian Americans.
Other dimensions of acculturation have also been studied, such as values. Adopting values of the new society may be the most subtle aspect of culture change (Marino et al., 2000) that occurs over the span of generations. Several studies suggest that immigrant parents continue to socialize their children into traditional values of the heritage culture (Kwak & Berry, 2001; Patel, Power, & Bhavnagri, 1996; Phalet & Schonpflug, 2001).
In summary, a multidimensional process of acculturation occurs differently for children and adults. As a result, acculturation “gaps” develop between parents and children in immigrant families. While such acculturation gaps are normative in immigrant families, they have been found to be linked to intergenerational conflict in some studies (Birman, 2006).

Acculturation and mental health

The process of acculturation may lead to acculturative stress (Berry, 1997; Lazarus, 1997), defined as stressful life events thought to be associated with the acculturation process. The process of learning a new language and culture may be stressful in its own right, as immigrants may feel a threat to their sense of self-efficacy. In addition, reconciling the norms and values of the new and the old culture may be difficult (Berry, 1997; N. Rodriguez, Myers, Mira, Flores, & Garcia-Hernandez, 2002), particularly when they conflict (Liebkind & Jasinskaja-Lahti, 2000; Rudmin & Ahmadzadeh, 2001). Discrimination as an immigrant and/or as a member of a racial minority group is also considered a component of acculturative stress (D. Chavez, Moran, Reid, & Lopez, 1997; Hwang & Ting, 2008; Suarez-Morales, Dillion, & Szapocznik, 2007; Vinokurov, Trickett, & Birman, 2002).
Much research in psychology has addressed the question of whether the ways in which immigrants acculturate may hold advantages for their mental health (e.g., Rogler, Cortes, & Malgady, 1991), but the findings are inconsistent across studies and immigrant groups. For example, assimilation has been found to have benefits for Asian immigrants. It was associated with less acculturative stress, with reduced depression for Korean immigrants in California (Ayers et al., 2009), and with better mental health indicators in several other Asian immigrant groups (Hwang & Myers, 2007; ; Schnittker, 2002; Yeh, 2003). However, assimilation has also been associated with poor mental health for Latino immigrants (Burnam, Hough, Karno, Escobar, & Telles, 1987; F. I. Rivera, 2007; Torres, 2010).4
Unfortunately, interpretation of findings from studies that use assimilation measures is difficult because they assume that acculturation to the host and to native cultures are mutually exclusive (Cuellar, Harris, & Jasso, 1980; Suinn, Knoo, & Ahuna, 1995). Items in such measures generally ask respondents to choose their cultural affiliation, so that those endorsing high acculturation to the host culture are simultaneously endorsing low attachment to their heritage culture. As a result, the negative impact of assimilation on psychological adjustment found in some studies may not be a function of American acculturation but rather of loss of attachment to the native culture, which is confounded with American acculturation on these measures (Birman & Taylor-Ritzler, 2007; Schwartz et al., 2010).
Increasingly, researchers are using independent or bilinear measures of acculturation to both cultures and finding that immigrants benefit from acculturation to both the new and the native culture. For example, Y. Oh, Koeske, and Sales (2002) found that English language use and association with Americans reduced depression for Korean immigrants, as did maintaining Korean traditions. For Latino adolescents, acculturation to American culture was associated with reduced acculturative stress and increased self-esteem (Schwartz et al., 2007). Acculturation to the heritage culture also predicted increased self-esteem.
From a contextual perspective, there is no “best” acculturative style independent of context (Birman, Trickett, & Buchanan, 2005). Rather, whether a particular way of acculturating is beneficial depends on the kinds of cultural skills needed for successful adaptation within each particular microsystem. While some settings, such as workplaces or schools, are predominantly culturally American, others, such as an immigrant’s ethnic neighborhood and home environment, are predominantly of the heritage culture. From this perspective, acculturation to both cultures provides access to different kinds of resources that are useful in different settings and that, in turn, are linked to positive mental health outcomes (Birman & Taylor-Ritzler, 2007; Oppedal, Roysamb, & Sam, 2004; Shen & Takeuchi, 2001). For example, Oppedal et al. found that for immigrant adolescents in Norway, increased competence in both their ethnic and host culture was linked to improvement in mental health over the course of a year. Specifically, those with higher ethnic cultural competence had more support from family, and those higher on host cultural competence had more support from classroom teachers and peers. In turn, family and classroom support were both related to mental health.
Similarly, Birman & Taylor-Ritzler (2007) found that both Russian and American acculturation were predictors of reduced symptoms of distress for Soviet adolescent immigrants to the United States. While American acculturation had a direct effect, the impact of Russian acculturation on distress was through improving family adjustment.
In summary, acculturation to both heritage and host cultures provides immigrants with important cultural skills and repertoires that assist them across the culturally different microsystems. The implications are that settings and programs designed to assist immigrants with adapting to life in their new country must value both the need to learn the ways of the new culture and the need to maintain a connection with the old.
Intergenerational differences in acculturation
Family acculturation gaps extend across a variety of dimensions of acculturation and aspects of parent–child relationships, and immigrant parents and children increasingly live in different cultural worlds. Because parents are immersed predominantly in one culture and children in another, immigrant parents often know little of their children’s lives outside the home. Immigrant parents are unfamiliar with how U.S. schools operate and may not have the English language skills to communicate with the school (Delgado-Gaitan, 1985, 1992, 1994; Grolnick, Benjet, Kurowski, & Apostoleris, 1997). Immigrant parents may also lack knowledge and connection to a variety of programs and resources available to their children outside or after school, and they may find it difficult to provide guidance and monitor their children’s activities (Hao & Bonstead-Bruns, 1998; Mau, 1997).
For immigrant children, it can be difficult to live with the expectations and demands of one culture in the home and another at school. Children may not turn to their parents with problems and concerns, believing their parents do not know the culture and its institutions well enough to provide them with good advice or assistance. In addition, they may see their parents as burdened with the multiple stresses of resettlement and therefore psychologically unavailable (Birman, 2006; C. Suárez-Orozco & Suárez-Orozco, 2001). Extensive research with a variety of immigrant groups has documented the problems caused by acculturation gaps in studies with Asian (Buki, Ma, Strom, & Strom, 2003; Costigan & Dokis, 2006; Farver, Bhadha, & Narang, 2002; Ho & Birman, 2010; R. M. Lee, Choe, Kim, & Ngo, 2000), Latino (C. R. Martinez, 2006; Schofield, Parke, Kim, & Coltrane, 2008; Smokowski, Rose, & Bacallao, 2008), and European (Birman, 2006) immigrant families.

Social trust and civic engagement

A marker of whether new immigrants feel welcomed and accepted in U.S. society is whether they are able to develop social trust and become civically engaged.
Social trust
Democratic societies require citizens to interact regularly with each other for political, economic and social reasons (Gardner, 2007; Hardin, 2002; Portes, 1998; Putnam, 2000). For this interaction to occur, individuals must be willing to extend a certain level of trust to those with whom they come in contact. Thus, social trust and civic participation are inextricably linked (Cook, 2001; C. Flanagan, 2003; Levine, 2008; Putnam, 2000). Without such trust, people will close themselves off from others as a means of protection. When people refuse to “talk to strangers” (Allen, 2004), democratic society suffers (Putnam, 2000; Uslaner, 2000). The current atmosphere of general social distrust in the United States (Putnam, 2000; Putnam & Feldstein, 2004) coincides with, and is complicated by, the highest levels of immigration since the last great wave of migration from 1880 to 1920.
Civic engagement
The ways in which immigrant-origin youth are integrated into U.S. society and the ways in which they participate civically will no doubt affect the kind of society the United States will become in the coming decades (Stepick, Stepick, & Labissiere, 2008). To date, research on the civic engagement of immigrant-origin youth has been conspicuously sparse (Jensen & Flanagan, 2008). While historically, civic engagement was defined as voting, now it is conceptualized as a more complex and differentiated phenomenon. Definitions of civic engagement include attitudes toward political participation, knowledge about government, commitment to society, activities that help those in need, and collective action to fight for social justice (C. Flanagan, Gallay, Gill, Gallay, & Nti, 2005; Metz & Youniss, 2005; Morsillo & Prilleltensky, 2007; Torney-Purta, Barber, & Wilkenfeld, 2007). For immigrant individuals, such involvement in U.S. society, politics and communities represents successful integration into the life of the country.
Some researchers, including Huntington (2004), have claimed that the immigrant population represents a threat to American civil society because of its alleged divided loyalties. Yet the few existing studies suggest these fears may be misplaced. Children born in the United States to immigrant parents show levels of civic engagement that “match or exceed those of natives” (M. H. Lopez & Marcelo, 2008, p. 66). Similarly, South Asian and Latino/a immigrant youth were found to be highly civically engaged and view this engagement as an important part of their identities (Jensen, 2008). Likewise, immigrant civic engagement was found to be similar to that of nonimmigrant college freshmen in a large comparative mixed-methods study (Stepick et al., 2008).
It is important to note that immigrant civic engagement may be underestimated in many studies because immigrant-specific forms of civic engagement, such as interpreting, translating, advocating, and filling out official documents, are often overlooked in traditional measures in the field (Jensen & Flanagan, 2008; Stepick et al., 2008). As is true of other marginalized groups, immigrants may become engaged in their own ethnic communities (Bedolla, 2000; Hill & Moreno, 1996; Rhoads, Lee, & Yamada, 2002) through acts of civil protest or by working in local community organizations rather than engaging with mainstream institutions where they may not feel welcomed.
Although non-naturalized immigrant adults cannot vote, they can be involved in an array of civic projects. With citizenship and second-generation status come greater civic and political participation (M. H. Lopez & Marcelo, 2008; Stoll & Wong, 2007). Not speaking English blocks participation in some activities for the first generation. On the other hand, bilingual competencies can serve as tools for civic engagement among immigrant youth (Ramakrishnan & Baldasarre, 2004) who become involved as culture brokers.
Trust and civic engagement do not occur in a vacuum. Context and current events set the stage for trust and mistrust in all their empirical and conceptual iterations. It remains to be seen, for instance, how the general climate of distrust in the United States and the current crisis over immigration shape immigrant youths’ civic trust and engagement. Research is needed on how the current political climate influences trust in the culture and future civic engagement. There is some evidence that immigrant adults tend to be generally optimistic (Kao & Tienda, 1995) and have an inclination to be appreciative of the opportunities afforded to them in their new land (Levitt, 2008; C. Suárez-Orozco & Suárez-Orozco, 2001). Indeed, Latino immigrant participants were more likely than nonimmigrant participants to trust the 2010 Census Bureau enumeration (M. H. Lopez & Taylor, 2010).

In conclusion

The large body of research on acculturation in psychology contradicts many of the assumptions in the popular culture about immigrant acculturation and assimilation. While some in the popular press suggest immigrants are not interested in acculturating to the American culture, evidence suggests that many immigrants learn English, participate in the culture, and adopt hyphenated American identities, and that doing so benefits them. In fact, “overacculturation” (Szapocznik et al., 1986) may be harmful for immigrant children who pick up not only the new language but also negative cultural norms that are out of sync with their families. Interventions designed to help immigrant youth maintain native language fluency while acquiring English prevent behavioral overacculturation (Szapocznik et al., 1986) and maintain a strong ethnic identity. They can be helpful in reducing family acculturative gaps and stress and improving immigrant mental health. Further, contrary to popular opinion, immigrants are engaged in civic activities and contribute to such activities even before becoming citizens.
1 The amount of research on acculturation in psychology is large and growing. A search for acculturat* in PsycINFO produced 19,679 entries (15,363 since the year 2000), of which 8,469 were empirical articles in peer-reviewed journals. However, there is little consistency in the methods or terminology used in this large volume of literature (Rudmin, 2003). In reviewing the literature, we have attempted to clarify the terminology and highlight the complexity of presenting an integrative summary of findings.
2 In addition to bilinear, the terms bidimensional (e.g., Ryder, Alden, & Paulhus, 2000) or orthogonal (Oetting & Beauvais, 1991) have been used to describe this process.
3 Acculturation to the heritage culture has been sometimes called enculturation (e.g., N. A. Gonzales, Knight, Birman, & Sirolli, 2004; Yoon, Langrehr, & Ong, 2010). However, in developmental psychology, enculturation describes a more general process of socialization that occurs within the child’s cultural context. Immigrant adults arrive having been fully “enculturated” into their culture of origin, and for them the term does capture both their cultural socialization experience and their attachment to their heritage culture. But for immigrant children, enculturation, or the process of socialization into the culture and society that surround them, occurs with respect to both cultures, as the family is embedded within and is reacting to the host cultural context. Therefore, to avoid confusion, the term acculturation refers to the process of affiliation with the heritage culture and is seen as part of the overall acculturation process that involves balancing affiliation to both.
4 Some authors have suggested that studies consistently show that acculturation is linked to negative mental health outcomes for Latino Americans (Escobar & Vega, 2001; S. Sue & Chu, 2003). However, this evidence comes largely from sociological studies that rely on place of birth and other demographic markers as proxies for acculturation (e.g., Burnham et al., 1987; Vega & Amaro, 1994). By comparing the mental health of different generations of immigrants, sociologists and epidemiologists assess the extent to which these groups differ and study the process of assimilation of immigrant groups over the course of generations. However, such proxy measures do not capture the psychological acculturation experience of individuals as explored in the psychological literature with bilinear measures and do not address the question of whether individual immigrants’ acculturation is related to mental health outcomes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Los Enigmas.


Yo que soy el que ahora está cantando
seré mañana el misterioso, el muerto,
el morador de un mágico y desierto
orbe sin antes ni después ni cuándo.

Así afirma la mística. Me creo
indigno del Infierno o de la Gloria,
pero nada predigo. Nuestra historia
cambia como las formas de Proteo.

¿Qué errante laberinto, qué blancura
ciega de resplandor será mi suerte,
cuando me entregue el fin de esta aventura

la curiosa experiencia de la muerte?
Quiero beber su cristalino Olvido,
ser para siempre; pero no haber sido.

Jorge luis Borges

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Watching pornography is fun or is a problem? Ver pornografia es un juego divertido o es un problema?

by Olga L. Miranda

College of Southern Nevada, Henderson Campus. This was an essay made for the course Physchology-101
(una version en Espanol esta debajo)

lThe concept about what is psychologically normal has been different in each historical period and culture. Consequently, the concept of normal sexual behavior has changed drastically in the last hundred years. Today, it is normal to see movies where a couple is having very graphical intercourse. Also, we can see TV shows where little girls are dressed and fixed with an evident intention to be sexually attractive. Even though these performances are considered for some ones as a human deviation harmful for the children’s education, in general it is accepted like culturally normal in this new “advanced” epoch.

However, one century ago public expressions of sexuality were considered completely obscene, abnormal, and offensive to the common sensitivity. The first sexual kiss given in an American movie happened in 1896 and some critics described that scene as disgusting. Nowadays, we feel free to show our sexual desires to others publically and enjoy seeing other displaying public sexuality. All these liberated sexual behaviors look very normal and innocuous, but the reality is not so simple.

Certainly, the sexual pathologies continue haunting us. For instance, the number of divorces due to one member of the couple is spending a long time watching pornography or having cybersex is growing (Douthat, 2008, p 82). The human being remains fascinated with sexuality. Otherwise, the pornography industry could not be one of the best profit deviant media busyness’s of the world (making 8 billion per year), the child sexual abuse would not be a common crime in many countries, and the psychiatrists would not worry and talk include new pathologies, therapies and interventions to identify and treat the growing issues related to psychosexual addictions.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/11/27/the-sex-addiction-epidemic.html

One question still remains. What is in our human nature that creates conflict with our sexuality? It is because our libido, the strongest instinct of survival and reproduction of our specie, is not totally able to be under our rational control?

Since the late nineteen-century Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung discovered some features in the human psychology associated with feeling sexual pleasure watching others. It was named scoptophilia, “love of looking”. This means the pleasure from looking naked bodies, erotic objects such as some photographs, pornography, etc. The founders of psychoanalysis pointed out that this psychological human issue is an instinct that appears in childhood related to a sort of curiosity about others sexuality. Also, they thought that this instinct is a way to explore what sexuality is avoiding the sense of shame resulting from a real sexual act. But why, when, how this natural instinct becomes an abnormality?

Currently, the answers are diverse. Watching pornography is a form of scoptophilia. Pornography has been defined as “any written or visual material that is specifically intended to cause sexual excitement. It is distinguished from erotica by subjective measures that evaluate its social value, such as educational or artistic merit”. (Hollen, 2009, p 287). Some believe that pornography is not harmful and can be a way to improve intimacy. However, from other perspectives is admitted that, even though pornography is not harmful by itself, “can have devastating effects for certain individuals” (Twohig & Crosby, 2009, p 54).

The current studies point out three fundamental arguments. First of all, some pornography materials are degrading, violent and the image given of the woman is like an object. Secondly, using pornography causes the couple lost emotional connection, trust, communication, and, paradoxically, a decrease of sexual satisfaction. Thirdly, the user becomes in an addicted forgetting the responsibilities as a father or mother putting at risk their own children to be exposed to disturbing images.

For example, according to some studies, “distressed women report that a partner's heavy use of sexually explicit materials compromises their sense of intimacy and closeness to the partner, makes them feel like sexual objects rather than true partners during sexual relations" (Bridges, & Bergner, 2009, p 1263). Likewise, researchers have found that: “exposure to pornography negatively impacted self-assessment of sexual experience, while other aspects of life (i.e., professional satisfaction) remained constant. Participants reported less satisfaction with their intimate partner and specifically with their partner’s (a) affection, (b) physical appearance, (c) sexual curiosity, and (d) sexual performance”. (Manning, 2006, p 142)

Finally, it is evident that the new technologies of communication such as internet with its social networks and websites have made pornography a very easy, accessible and cheap “entertainment” for everyone. In other words, watching pornography is not any more a private activity only for adult men so pornography is at home, easy to be reached with a computer. Thus, pornography is becoming a social problem comparable with other additions and mental disorders associated to family rupture, loss of trust and emotional stability in the relationships, devaluation of women’s role in the sexual relation, infidelity, and human degradation. Moreover, this addictive behavior creates another additional risk: the possibility to transfer to our children wrong values about sex as a physical pleasure disconnected from love and respect.

References

Bridges, A. J., & Bergner, R. M. (2009)."Pornography, Effects on Relationships”. Encyclopedia of Human Relationships. Ed. Harry T. Reis and Susan Sprecher. Vol. 3. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 1262-1264. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 30 Nov. 2012.

Douthat, R. (2008). Is Pornography Adultery? The Atlantic. October 2008. Atlantic Mounthly group Inc. Copyright of Atlantic Mounthly (10727825). Retrieved form www. theatlantic.com/porn.

Hollen, K. H.(2009)."Pornography” .Encyclopedia of Addictions. Vol.2. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 287. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

Manning, J. C., (2006). The Impact of Internet Pornography on Marriage and the Family: A Review of the Research. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 13:131–165, 2006. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ISSN: 1072-0162 print / 1532-5318.

Twohig, M., P., Crosby, J. M., & Cox, J. M. (2009). Viewing Internet Pornography: For Whom is it Problematic, How, and Why? Utah State University, Logan, Utah. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 16:253–266, Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group.


Version en Espanol.

?Ver pornografia es un juego divertido o es un problema?
por Olga L. Miranda.

(Este es un trabajo escrito originalmente en Ingles, por la autora de este blog, como tarea para la clase de sicologia tomada el semestre pasado en el College del Sur de Nevada)

El concepto de lo que es psicológicamente normal ha sido diferente en cada momento histórico y cultura. En consecuencia, las opiniones acerca de lo se puede considerar una conducta sexual normal han cambiado drásticamente en los últimos cien años. Hoy en día es normal ver películas en las que una pareja tiene relaciones sexuales muy gráficas. Además, podemos ver programas de televisión donde las niñas se visten y se maquillan con una evidente intención de ser sexualmente atractiva. A pesar de que estas presentaciones son consideradas por algunos como una desviación humana perjudicial para la educación de los niños, en general se acepta como normal en esta cultura nueva y propia de la época "moderna" en que vivimos.


Sin embargo, un siglo atrás, la expresión pública de la sexualidad se consideraba algo totalmente obsceno, anormal, y ofensivo para la sensibilidad común. El primer beso sexual que se dio en una película americana ocurrió en 1896 y algunos críticos describieron la escena como repugnante. Hoy en día, nos sentimos libres para mostrar nuestros deseos sexuales a otros públicamente y disfrutar de ver a otros mostrando la sexualidad en pública, digase en la pantalla de un cine o en la television. Todas estas conductas sexuales "liberadas" parecen algo muy normal e inocuo, pero la realidad no es tan simple.


Ciertamente, las patologías sexuales continúan siendo algo muy frecuente. Por ejemplo, el número de divorcios porque un miembro de la pareja está pasando mucho tiempo viendo pornografía o teniendo cybersexo es cada vez mayor (Douthat, 2008, p 82). El ser humano sigue fascinado con la sexualidad. De lo contrario, la industria de la pornografía no podría ser uno de los mas rentables negocios del mundo(con ganancias de hasta 8 billones al agno), el abuso sexual infantil no sería un delito común en muchos países, y los psiquiatras no se preocuparían ni hablarian cada vez mas de incluir nuevas patologías, terapias e intervenciones para identificar y tratar los crecientes problemas relacionados con las adicciones psicosexuales.


Una pregunta aún permanece:  ?Que es lo que yace en nuestra naturaleza humana que crea conflicto con nuestra sexualidad? Sera que nuestra libido, el instinto más fuerte de la supervivencia y la reproducción de nuestra especie, no es totalmente capaz de estar bajo nuestro control racional?


Desde finales del siglo 19, Sigmund Freud y Carl Jung descubrieron algunas de las características de la psicología humana asociadas con la sensación de placer sexual observando a otros. Fue nombrado scoptophilia, "el amor de mirar". Esto significa que existe cierto instinto de sentir placer al mirar cuerpos desnudos, objetos eróticos como algunas fotografías, pornografía, etc Los fundadores del psicoanálisis señalaron que era un rasgo de la psicologia humana, un instinto que aparece en la infancia en relación con una especie de curiosidad sobre la sexualidad de los otros. Además, ellos pensaron que este instinto era una manera de explorar lo que es la sexualidad evitando la sensación de vergüenza que resulta de un acto sexual real. ¿Pero por qué, cuándo, y cómo este instinto natural se convierte en una anomalía, en una adiccion?


En la actualidad, las respuestas son diversas. Mirar pornografía es una forma de scoptophilia. La pornografía ha sido definida como "cualquier material escrito o visual que está específicamente destinado a causar excitación sexual. Se distingue del erotismo a través de criterios subjetivos que evalúan su valor social, como la educación o mérito artístico ". (Hollen, 2009, p 287). Algunos creen que la pornografía no es perjudicial y puede ser una manera de mejorar la intimidad. Sin embargo, desde otras perspectivas se admite que, a pesar de que la pornografía no es perjudicial en sí mismo, "puede tener efectos devastadores para algunas personas" (Twohig y Crosby, 2009, p 54).


Los estudios actuales señalan tres argumentos fundamentales. En primer lugar, algunos materiales de la pornografía son degradantes, violentos y la imagen dada de la mujer es como un objeto. En segundo lugar, la adiccion a la pornografía de parte de un miembro de la pareja hace que la relacion pierde conexión emocional, confianza, comunicación y, paradójicamente, ocurre una disminución de la satisfacción sexual . En tercer lugar, el que usa la pornografia se convierte, en muchos casos, en un adicto, que olvida las responsabilidades como padre o madre, poniendo en riesgo a sus hijos a estar expuesto a imágenes perturbadoras


Por ejemplo, según algunos estudios, "las mujeres afectadas por la adiccion de sus esposos a la pornografia reportan que el uso intensivo de la pareja de material sexualmente explícito compromete su sentido de intimidad y cercanía con la pareja, las hace sentir como un objeto sexual en lugar de verdaderos companeros durante las relaciones sexuales" (Bridges, y ; Bergner, 2009, p 1263) Del mismo modo, algunos investigadores han encontrado que: "La exposición a la pornografía ha impactado negativamente en la auto-evaluación de la experiencia sexual, mientras que otros aspectos de la vida (es decir, la satisfacción profesional) se mantuvo constante participantes reportaron menos satisfacción en la intimidad, y específicamente con (a) el afecto de su pareja, (b) la apariencia física, (c) la curiosidad sexual, y (d) el desempeño sexual ". (Manning, 2006, p 142)


Por último, es evidente que las nuevas tecnologías de comunicación como Internet con sus redes sociales y sitios web de pornografía han hecho muy fácil, accesible y barato este"entretenimiento" para todos. En otras palabras, ver pornografía no es más una actividad privada sólo para los hombres adultos, pues la pornografía está en casa, fácil de ser vista con un ordenador. Por lo tanto, la pornografía se está convirtiendo en un problema social comparable con otras adiciones y trastornos mentales asociados a la ruptura familiar, la pérdida de confianza y estabilidad emocional en las relaciones, la devaluación del papel de la mujer en la relación sexual, la infidelidad, y la degradación humana. Por otra parte, este comportamiento adictivo crea otro riesgo adicional: la posibilidad de transferir a nuestros hijos valores erróneos sobre el sexo como un placer físico desconectado del amor, de los sentimientos,  del respeto. 

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por Olga L. Miranda Se me ocurre ir a buscarte,   llegar a tu redil solitario y dejarme llorar frente a ti sentada en...