Trauma-exposed Latina immigrants’ networks: A social network analysis approach

Author(s): Alejandra HURTADO-DE-MENDOZA ; Adriana SERRANO ; Felisa A. GONZALES ; Nicole C. FERNANDEZ ; Mark L. CABLING ; Stacey KALTMAN


Trauma exposure among Latina immigrants is common. Social support networks can buffer the impact of trauma on mental health. This study characterizes the social networks of trauma-exposed Latina immigrants using a social network analysis perspective. In 2011–2012 a convenience sample (n = 28) of Latina immigrants with trauma exposure and presumptive depression or posttraumatic stress disorder was recruited from a community clinic in Washington DC. Participants completed a social network assessment and listed up to 10 persons in their network (alters). E-Net was used to describe the aggregate structural, interactional, and functional characteristics of networks, and Node-XL was used in a case study to diagram 1 network. Most participants listed children (93%), siblings (82%), and friends (71%) as alters, and most alters lived in the United States (69%). Perceived emotional support and positive social interaction were higher compared with tangible, language, information, and financial support. A case study illustrates the use of network visualizations to assess the strengths and weaknesses of social networks. Targeted social network interventions to enhance supportive networks among trauma-exposed Latina immigrants are warranted.

Tags: USA, Central America, South America, Latinos, Trauma, PTSD, Depressive disorders, Social networks, Social support

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