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Sociodemographic Predictors and Cultural Barriers to Help-Seeking Behavior by Latina and Anglo American Battered Women

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Data from a national survey were used to investigate the help-seeking efforts of Latinas (Mexican, Mexican American, Puerto Rican) and Anglo American women who experienced battering by intimate partners. The findings revealed that battered Latinas were significantly younger, less educated, and more impoverished than Anglo women. Additionally, Latinas more often categorized their marriages as male dominated and their husbands as heavy drinkers. Bivariate analyses showed that Latinas who sought help were significantly more acculturated and more likely to have a heavy drinking husband than those who did not seek help. Although battered women were active help seekers, Latinas underutilized both informal and formal resources relative to Anglo women, with Mexican women least likely to seek assistance. When sociodemographic predictors of help seeking were analyzed, being youthful and Anglo significantly increased the odds of help-seeking efforts. Low acculturation, as measured by preference for the Spanish language, was the only significant cultural barrier to help seeking by Latinas. Implications for treatment include improved outreach and advocacy to underserved groups.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Washington, Tacoma 2: Family Research Laboratory 3: Wichita State University

Publication date: January 1, 1998

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