Study Finds Wide Disparity in Intimate Partner Violence Among Foreign and Native-Born Latinas

Cavanaugh_picA new study led by Courtney Cavanaugh, an assistant professor of psychology at the Camden campus of Rutgers University in New Jersey, examined the effects of intimate partner violence on Latinas. The study found significant differences for Latinas who were born in the United States compared to those who immigrated to this country. The study found that physically abused Latinas who were foreign born were two times more likely to have experienced recent intimate partner sexual violence than the physically abused Latinas born in the United States.

For the study, Dr. Cavanaugh interviewed 555 women who sought help after being abused. More than half reported that they were made to have unprotected sex six or more times in the previous six months. Thirty-eight percent said they were victims of intimate partner sexual violence.

Dr. Cavanaugh states that her results also indicate a significant public health problem. “Abused women are at risk for contracting HIV because abusive partners force or coerce them into sex, and because they engage in risky behaviors that are consensual,” she states.

Dr. Cavanaugh is a graduate of the University of Oregon. After completing college she worked on a ward for adolescent girls at a psychiatric hospital in Kirkland, Washington. Many of the patients there had been physically and sexually abused. Dr. Cavanaugh went on to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Alliant International University.

The study, “Intimate Partner Sexual Violence: A Comparison of Foreign- Versus US-Born Physically Abused Latinas,” was published on the website of the Journal of Urban Health. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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