Methods: This cross-sectional data analysis used data from 271 Hispanic youth from the second cohort of the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-being (NSCAW II). The NSCAW II includes a nationally representative sample of children who lived in the United States and were subject of a child abuse or neglect investigation between February 2008 and April 2009. The current study used data collected from youth, caregivers, and caseworkers at baseline. Post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTS) were measured using the PTS subscale of the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children. Additionally, IPV exposure was assessed using the witnessing violence subscale of the Violence Exposure Scale for Children. Finally, acculturation level was calculated using measures of parent nativity and whether Spanish is spoken regularly at home. We conducted multiple linear regression analyses to achieve our study aims.
Results: We did not find a statistically significant relationship between IPV exposure and PTS symptoms among Hispanic youth (B = .21, 95% CI = [-.09, .52]); however, we found differences in PTS symptoms by level of acculturation. Specifically, higher levels of acculturation were associated with more reports of PTS symptoms (B = 1.03, 95% CI = [.13, 1.93]).
Conclusion and Implications: The results of this study extend prior studies of child welfare involved youth. However, different from other studies, this study presents differences in PTS symptoms among Hispanic youth by level of acculturation. Our findings highlight the need for the use of a strengths-based perspective and bicultural interventions when working with Hispanic youth exposed to IPV. Our findings are different from past research that suggest a significant relationship between PTS and IPV, indicating that there may be other factors that are more important to consider when trying to understand characteristics of Hispanic youth who display PTS symptoms. These findings have important implications for child welfare policy, direct practice and further research.