Childhood Maltreatment Among Hispanic Women in the United States: An Examination of Subgroup Differences and Impact on Psychiatric Disorder

Prevalence rates of childhood maltreatment among Hispanic women in the United States are presented separately for nativity status and ethnic origin subgroups, and the associations between different types of maltreatment and the development of anxiety and depressive disorders are examined. Analyses used self-report data from 1,427 Hispanic women who participated in the National Latino and Asian American Survey. Foreign-born Hispanic women compared to U.S.-born Hispanic women reported significantly lower rates of sexual assault and witnessing interpersonal violence, and a significantly higher rate of being beaten. Ethnic subgroups reported similar rates of maltreatment, with the exception of rape. Bivariate analyses were remarkably consistent in that regardless of nativity status or ethnic subgroup, each type of maltreatment experience increased the risk of psychiatric disorder. In multivariate models controlling for all types of victimization and proxies of acculturation, having been beaten and witnessing interpersonal violence remained significant predictors of both disorders, but sexual abuse increased risk of anxiety only. A significant interaction effect of family cultural conflict and witnessing violence on anxiety provided very limited support for the hypothesis that acculturation moderates the influence of maltreatment on mental health outcomes. Implications for culturally relevant prevention and intervention approaches are presented.

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