Confidant Relations in Brazil: Implications for Latino Health Treatments

By Edward Hoffman, Michiko Nishimura, Ana Cristina Resende and Jenny Isaacs.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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The select individual whom one trusts in sharing important personal matters is sometimes referred to as a confidant. The confidant relationship has received increasing attention in recent years as a major social factor contributing to individual wellness. Yet, little empirical data has been available, especially cross-culturally, to guide health researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners. In this study, 229 adult Brazilians attending two universities in central Brazil responded to a structured questionnaire. Participants comprised of 124 females, 95 males, and 10 gender unspecified (mean age = 27.3 years). They were asked whether they had a confidant, and if so, to describe various features of this relationship. Consistent with previous studies involving other countries, women were significantly more likely than men to have a confidant. For both genders, the confidant was significantly more likely to be female rather than male. Contrary to our expectations, Brazilian women had greater trust for male confidants compared to female confidants. Men and women were equally likely to have a confidant who was not a family member. Age positively correlated with the tendency to lie to one’s confidant. The implications for Latino health treatment are discussed, and future research avenues are highlighted.

Keywords: Confidants, Confidant Relations, Adult Friendship, Brazilian Social Relations, Brazilian Friendships, Latino Social Relations, Latino Friendships, Social Medicine, Behavioral Medicine

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.53-62. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 438.882KB).

Dr. Edward Hoffman

Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Yeshiva University, New York, NY, USA

Dr. Edward Hoffman received his B.A. from Cornell University, and his master’s degrees and doctorate from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He has authored more than a dozen books in psychology and related fields, including major biographies of Alfred Adler and Abraham Maslow. He is also a senior editor of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology. Dr. Hoffman is active in cross-cultural psychology, particularly related at present to the study of peak-experiences in youth and midlife, and the role of confidant relations in affecting individual well-being. He is the co-author with Dr. William Compton of POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY: THE SCIENCE OF HAPPINESS AND FLOURISHING (Wadsworth, 2012). With his family, Dr Hoffman divides his time between the United States and Brazil.

Michiko Nishimura

Graduate Student, Department of Psychology, Yeshiva University, USA

Michiko Nishimura was raised in Taiwan. She is a clinical psychology graduate student at Columbia University’s Teacher College, and is interested in family dynamics and culture.

Ana Cristina Resende

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Pontifical Catholic University of Goias, Brazil

Dr. Ana Cristina Resende was born and raised in Goiânia, a city located in the central-western part of Brazil. She is on the psychology faculty at Pontifíca Universidade Católica de Goiás, and coordinator of its clinical program. Since 1998, her research interests have included both psychopathology, such as schizophrenia and anti-social disorders, and mental health and excellence, such as creativity and giftedness.

Jenny Isaacs

Associate Professor, Psychology, Yeshiva University, USA

Dr. Jenny Isaacs received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from St. John's University. After completing a post-doctoral research position in Finland at the University of Turku she joined the faculty at Yeshiva University. She is currently an associate professor of psychology. She is an active researcher, with a general area of interest in psychosocial adjustment from childhood to adulthood. Much of her previous and current work utilizes strong theoretical models to help explicate why some children flourish while others flounder and helps to move the field forward toward a richer understanding of why and how children develop in their social world. Recently she has been able to apply her background in social-cognitive learning theory and social development to focus on adult populations. Despite being trained as a clinical psychologist, she is interested in the full spectrum of normative development, ranging from very high functioning individuals to those with significant impairments.