The protective role of cultural values on PTSD symptoms in Latinx immigrant youth



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The number of Latinx immigrant children in the United States (U.S.) continues to rise (U.S. Customs Border Patrol [CBP], 2015; U.S. CBP, 2016). Latinx immigrant youth are exposed to significant trauma in their home countries and on their journey to the U.S., and as such, are at risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, not every youth exposed to traumatic events is at equal risk for developing PTSD, thus indicating there may be other factors affecting or tempering the subsequent development of PTSD. Within the Latinx culture, there are cultural values that may serve as buffers against mental health problems, such as familismo, respeto, and simpatía. To date, there is little empirical data regarding the association between cultural values and the development of PTSD after traumatic exposure in Latinx immigrant children. Thus, the current study analyzed data from a sample of Latinx immigrant youth (N= 81) interviewed at a respite center at the U.S.-Mexico border. Binary logistic regressions revealed that higher levels of trauma exposure were linked to a higher likelihood of reporting elevated PTSD symptoms. Additionally, higher levels of familismo were associated with a lower likelihood of reporting elevated PTSD symptoms, thus suggesting familismo is a protective factor. Finally, endorsing clinically significant PTSD symptoms was associated with a higher likelihood of reporting elevated PTSD functional impairment. No significant findings emerged regarding respeto and simpatía. Future research should further explore whether familismo, respeto, and simpatía, and other cultural values serve as protective factors on PTSD in Latinx immigrant youth.



PTSD, Youth, Latinx, Immigration, Cultural Values, Protective Factors.