Friday, July 13, 2007
This presentation is part of : Women's Health Strategies
"Breaking the Silence:" Latinas' Experiences with Substance Abuse, Intimate Partner Violence & Risks for HIV
Elias Vasquez, PhD, NP, FAAN1, Rosa Maria Gonzalez, RN, MSN, MPH2, and Nilda (Nena) Peragallo, RN, DrPH, FAAN1. (1) School of Nursing, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA, (2) Interdepartmental Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, USA
Learning Objective #1: identify the main themes that emmerged from the qualative content analysis.
Learning Objective #2: describe important cultural factors that must be incorporated into programs targeting substance abuse, violence and HIV risk behaviors among this population.

Background: Hispanics report higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse (SAMSHA, 2005), Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) (Caetano, Field, Ramisetty-Mikler, McGrath, 2005) and sexual risk behaviors (CDC, 2006) when compared to Whites and other minority groups. Investigators involved in research with ethnic minorities have recommended that qualitative designs and methods such as focus groups be used to better explore culturally specific behaviors and phenomena (Lugo Steidel, Ikhlas, Lopez, Rahman & Teichman, 2002). Purpose: To explore the experiences that 18 to 60 year old Hispanic females in the U.S. have with substance abuse, violence and risky sexual behaviors. Design and Methods: Eight focus groups with a total of 82 Hispanic women between the ages of 18 and 60 were conducted by the same bilingual, bicultural fascilitators. Focus groups were conducted in Spanish, audio-recorded, transcribed and translated. Six investigators reviewed the transcripts, making sure that each focus group was analyzed by two coders. Through content analyses major themes were identified. Results: One of the major themes that emerged is the role that “machismo,” the male sexual privilege and gender inequities, plays in placing women at risk for abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. Participants also stressed the need to “break the silence” of abuse by not tolerating abuse from their partners and teaching their children to have equitable relationships with the opposite gender. Psychological and “intellectual” abuse also emerged as an often overlooked type of abuse that needs to be addressed. Other emerging themes include acculturation stress, the deterioration of traditional family values and their impact on Hispanic youth risk behavior (i.e. substance abuse and early sexual debut) and conflict with intimate partners and self-esteem. Conclusions: The results from this study describe important issues that need to be addressed when implementing interventions aiming to reduce health disparities among Hispanic women.