All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Andrzej Kulczycki

Advisory Committee Members

Karen Fowler

Mary Ann Pass

Jill Ross

Joseph Telfair

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2010

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) School of Public Health

Abstract

This study utilized a cross-sectional design to survey 272 Latinas in the Birmingham metropolitan area and interview 29 Latinas who were known victims of IPV in the community. Prevalence, socio-demographic characteristics, perceptions of abuse, and help-seeking behaviors were examined, and the psychometric properties of the Woman Abuse Screening Tool (WAST) were assessed. Survey findings indicated current and lifetime IPV prevalence rates of 39.4% and 44.9%, respectively, among women aged 19-55. Victims were 1.9 times more likely to have been born in Central/South America than non-victims. Survey respondents had an average score of 32.5 (range 11-44) on the Perceptions of Abuse Scale. Interviewed victims all recognized physical violence as part of IPV and many also mentioned emotional and sexual abuse. Among women participating in the victim interviews 76% reported having trouble seeking help. Among both subgroups, participants identified common sources of help as well as similar barriers to help-seeking. Among the IPV victims interviewed, several women mentioned discrimination from service providers as a barrier to seeking help and three themes emerged: isolation, cultural disconnects and empowerment. The WAST proved to be moderately reliable with Cronbach's alpha of 0.65 and sensitivity and specificity of 95.6% and 24.1%, respectively. The evidence indicates that IPV is a significant problem among Latinas in Central Alabama, who not know how or where to seek help. More research is needed and work must be done by policy makers and service providers to enable Latina victims to find support. This study is the first of its kind in Alabama and the first to examine the link between perceptions of abuse and help-seeking among Latinas in the United States. These results are being used to enhance intervention programs for Latina victims.

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