Victimization, psychological distress, and help-seeking

Disentangling the relationship for Latina victims

Carlos A. Cuevas, Kristin A. Bell, Chiara Sabina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this analysis was to evaluate the role of help-seeking on the victimization-psychological distress link. Specifically, we aim to determine whether help-seeking is associated with various forms of psychological distress among victims of interpersonal violence. Method: This study used data from the Sexual Assault Among Latinas (SALAS) Study, which surveyed 2,000 Latino women using random digit dial methodology, and queried participants about lifetime victimization, help-seeking behaviors associated with victimization, and psychological distress. Using linear regression with a subsample of the women who experienced victimization in adulthood (N = 242), we evaluated the association of victimization, cultural variables, formal help-seeking, and informal help-seeking on psychological distress. Subsequently, we also evaluated the relationship of each specific form of help-seeking on current psychological distress. Results: Results suggest that formal help-seeking but not informal help-seeking was associated with lower psychological distress among Latino women. Specifically, formal help-seeking was associated with decreased levels of current depression, anger, dissociation, and anxiety. When looking at specific forms of formal help-seeking, reporting to police was the main form of help-seeking associated with decreased levels of current psychological distress. Interaction effects also showed the victimization - anger relationship was stronger for those with higher Latino orientation that were neither of Mexican nor Cuban descent. Conclusion: The results support the importance of promoting formal help-seeking behaviors, particularly police reporting, as a way of decreasing the negative psychological impact of victimization. Among Latinas, cultural factors and ethnicity need to be taken into consideration to better understand help-seeking behaviors and emotional functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-209
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology of Violence
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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Crime Victims
Hispanic Americans
victimization
Psychology
anger
Anger
Police
police
Dissociative Disorders
cultural factors
assault
adulthood
Violence
ethnicity
Linear Models
violence
anxiety
Anxiety
regression
Depression

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

Cuevas, Carlos A. ; Bell, Kristin A. ; Sabina, Chiara. / Victimization, psychological distress, and help-seeking : Disentangling the relationship for Latina victims. In: Psychology of Violence. 2014 ; Vol. 4, No. 2. pp. 196-209.
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Victimization, psychological distress, and help-seeking : Disentangling the relationship for Latina victims. / Cuevas, Carlos A.; Bell, Kristin A.; Sabina, Chiara.

In: Psychology of Violence, Vol. 4, No. 2, 01.01.2014, p. 196-209.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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