Abstract: Experiences of Latinx Immigrant Mothers in a Culturally Adapted Dyadic Home-Based Intervention (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Experiences of Latinx Immigrant Mothers in a Culturally Adapted Dyadic Home-Based Intervention

Friday, January 13, 2023
Camelback A, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Ruth Paris, PhD, Associate Professor, Boston University, Boston, MA
Meital Simhi, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, Boston University, Boston
Julia Lee, BS, Research Assistant, Boston University, Boston
Background: For Latinx families who immigrate to the United States, trauma is often a factor closely tied to the migration journey (Cleaveland & Frankenfeld, 2019). Coping with the effects of trauma and adjusting to post-immigration life present barriers to healthy development of parents and young children. With obstacles that Latinx parents face, such as isolation, discrimination, and limited language ability, social work interventions could be one solution, in-part, to combat their negative effects. Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is an evidence-based intervention that addresses trauma for young children and parents. However, there is little research focused on how immigrant parents experience their participation. The aims of this study were to explore, 1) Latinx immigrant mothers’ perceptions of their relationships with bilingual/bicultural Latinx clinicians, and 2) how the mothers perceived interactions with their clinicians affected relationships with their children, understanding of children’s needs, and their own mental health.

Methods: As part of a larger program evaluation of culturally adapted CPP with Latinx immigrant mothers and their children (ages birth to five) focused on implementation and outcomes, qualitative interviews were conducted in Spanish with parents six months into treatment or at the time of program completion, (N=27; 40% married; M age=33; 1/3 were employed). Interviewers asked participants about their experiences with the bilingual/bicultural clinician, how they perceived her as a professional, and changes they attributed to working with the clinician. The interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, translated, summarized, and reviewed. A code book was developed by RAs in consultation with the study’s PI and NVivo (version 12.0) was used to manage the coding process. The same RAs then used a thematic analysis approach, including line-by-line coding, and subsequent creation of concise themes and categories.

Results: Data analysis revealed that Latinx mothers who participated in CPP had positive perceptions of the overarching relationships with bilingual/bicultural clinicians. Interestingly, most of them perceived the clinicians as friends and some even saw them as part of their families. Simultaneously, the mothers described the clinicians as professionals who acted as guides from whom they could learn and receive support, both emotionally and materially. Furthermore, they reported that some of what they learned from the clinicians was about themselves as people and as mothers. Importantly, most mothers described the benefits of the intervention mentioning explicit changes in parenting practices and views of their children that were perceived as attributable to relationships with the clinicians.

Conclusions: These findings highlight the unique potential of adapted dyadic interventions offered by bilingual/bicultural clinicians to Latinx immigrant mothers and their young children. The narratives showed us the value of implementing clinical interventions with unique culturally specific characteristics that made it possible for the mothers to experience close, formal, and informal relationships with the clinicians. Given that social workers are the dominant group delivering these types of programs to vulnerable families and children, further research should be conducted to gain a greater understanding of how Latinx immigrant children and parents may benefit from the programs if implemented with culturally specific adaptations.