Publications : 2020

Cleaveland C, Frankenfeld CL. 2020. “They kill people over nothing:” An exploratory study of Latina immigrant trauma. J Social Services Res 46:507–523,


This article presents findings from an exploratory, mixed methods study to: (1) Ascertain whether Latina immigrant clients of a healthcare clinic for uninsured patients suffer a higher rate of PTSD compared to the citizen population at large and (2) Explore whether factors unique to immigrants, such as surviving human smuggling, would predict PTSD. Two validated instruments were deployed with clients who agreed to be screened (n = 62). Ten percent of U.S. women are expected to develop PTSD in a lifetime, a total tripled by immigrant women in this study. Women who scored high on the PTSD CheckList for Civilians (PCL-C) reported victimization from sexual assault, robberies and loss of friend/family member to violence, though no single assault predicted PTSD. Qualitative data, however, revealed that violence in countries of origin influenced decisions to immigrate. Among the avenues for future research identified by this study are (1) exploration of methods for linking Latina immigrants to mental health services, (2) determining the effects of smuggling violence on immigrants, and (3) Evaluate additive effects of multiple traumas.