Painful Passages: Traumatic Experiences and Post-Traumatic Stress among Immigrant Latino Adolescents and Their Primary Caregivers

Krista Perreira, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
India Ornelas, University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

This study examines how the migration process influences the risk of experiencing trauma and developing PTSD among immigrant children and their parents. Using data from a stratified random sample of 281 foreign-born adolescents and their parents, we used multivariate logistic regression to estimate associations between migration related factors and trauma. Using negative binomial regressions, we evaluated associations with PTSD symptoms. 29% of adolescents and 34% of parents experienced trauma during the migration process. Of those, 9% of adolescents and 21% of their parents are at risk for PTSD. Pre-migration poverty and clandestine entry into the US increased risk for trauma and PTSD symptoms. Post-migration experiences of discrimination and neighborhood disorder further exacerbate this risk while social support and familism can mitigate these risks. Immigration policy reforms promoting safe and legal migrations and improve the settlement experience of immigrants can promote their health and ability to contribute to the US economy.

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Presented in Session 195: Child Health Inequalities