Session: Depression and Trauma Amongst the Latinx Community (Society for Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference - Ending Gender Based, Family and Community Violence)

323 Depression and Trauma Amongst the Latinx Community

Sunday, January 20, 2019: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Continental Parlor 8, Ballroom Level (Hilton San Francisco)
Cluster: Race and Ethnicity (R&E)
Symposium Organizer:
Kristen Kremer, PhD, Kansas State University
Tania Paredes, PhD, Barry University
Mental health problems are pervasive throughout the United States and can greatly impair daily functioning. Individuals from all racial and ethnic groups experience mental illness, yet individual coping styles and help-seeking behaviors vary based on cultural differences. Latinx individuals are among the least likely to use mental health services (Derr, 2016). This may result from having high self-stigma, in which they feel embarrassed and ashamed of their mental illness. The Latinx community may be further deterred from seeking mental health treatment due to lack of insurance coverage and language barriers. The purpose of this symposium is to bring greater awareness to and understanding of mental health needs across the Latinx community. This was accomplished by utilizing diverse research methods, including secondary data analysis, primary data collection, and qualitative interviews, with samples of Latinx adolescents, post-natal mothers and fathers, and gay and bisexual men.

The first paper considers the predictors of internalizing behavior among Latinx adolescents. Findings revealed that Latinx youth with limited English proficiency had significantly higher internalizing behavior compared to their peers with proficient English abilities. Limited English proficient youth displayed particularly higher internalizing behaviors with regards to feelings of sadness, being ashamed of making mistakes, worrying about doing well in school, and having something to be proud of.

The second and third papers examine depression among mothers and fathers during the post-natal period. Using a mixed-methods approach, findings from paper two revealed that a culturally-sensitive support group for post-natal Latinas was effective at reducing depressive symptoms. Qualitative interviews indicate that post-natal depression among Latina mothers was related to environmental stressors, feelings of isolation, and limited social support. Following participation in the support group, the participants described feeling supported by other participants, improved self-care and coping skills, and increased parenting knowledge. Paper three, utilizing primary data with post-natal Latino fathers, found a negative correlation between depressive symptoms with egalitarianism and coping skills.

The final paper explores experiences of harassment and assault among gay and bisexual Latino males. Particularly, roughly one-third of respondents experienced verbal harassment and physical assault by family members due to their sexual orientation, while two-thirds of respondents reported verbal harassment and physical attacks by non-family members resulting from their sexual orientation.

Findings from these four papers offer significant insight into the mental health needs of the Latinx community. Particularly, Latinx individuals are at an increased risk for mental health concerns due to stigma, language barriers, and limited social support. Given their restricted use of mental health treatment and unique cultural barriers, increased understanding of mental health concerns within this sub-population can support access to care and design of more effective treatment options.

* noted as presenting author
Role of Immigration and English Proficiency on Internalizing Behavior of Latinx Youth
Kristen Kremer, PhD, Kansas State University; Nathaniel House, MSW, Saint Louis University
Effectiveness of a Support Group for Perinatal Depression Among Latinas: A Mixed Methods Approach
Anne Farina, MSW, Saint Louis University; Tatiana Otalora, MSW, University of Georgia
Violence Among Gay and Bisexual Latino Men
Daniel Jacobson, MSW, LSW, University of Pittsburgh
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