Many Latino Immigrants Suffer From PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. When most people think about PTSD they think about soldiers who’ve gone to war and have experienced warfare, but the fact is that there is a bigger issue surrounding PTSD at home that no one is talking about—immigration.

There are approximately 55 million Hispanics in the U.S. and about 35% of those are immigrants. A study published by The Center for Migration Studies of New York by Krista M. Perreira and India Ornelas studied 281 foreign-born adolescents and their parents to see how the migration process influences the risk of experiencing trauma and developing PTSD.

ptsd and immigrants, immigration march


They found that 29% of foreign-born adolescents and 34% foreign-born parents experienced trauma during the migration process. Among those that experienced trauma, 9% of adolescents and 21% of their parents were at risk for PTSD. On top of that, pre-migration poverty combined with clandestine entry into the U.S. increased the risk of trauma and the subsequent development of PTSD symptoms. Post-migration experiences of discrimination and neighborhood disorder further increased this risk, while social support and familism mitigated it.