Family Support, Violence, and PTSD Symptoms in Salvadoran Youth
El Salvador is identified as one of the most violent countries in the world. Growing up in such context, it is likely that Salvadoran youth experience a high risk for violence exposure, including different forms of physical violence. Familial and non-familial perpetrated physical violence are associated with negative mental health outcomes, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Multiple studies document the protective role of family support in attenuating negative mental health outcomes in adolescents. This study examined the fitness of mediation and moderation models for family support on the relationship between familial and non-familial physical violence and PTSD symptomatology in Salvadoran youth. Participants consisted of 797 Salvadoran youth aged 13-17 years old attending private and public schools. Both mediation and moderation models for family support, familial physical violence and adolescent PTSD symptomatology were significant. Family support did not mediate or moderate the relationship between non-familial physical violence and PTSD symptomatology. Findings underscore the protective role of family support in attenuating the relationship between familial physical violence and PTSD symptomatology. Clinical implications from this study highlight the importance of incorporating family-based interventions (e.g., family therapy, parent support) when providing psychological treatment for adolescents growing up in violent contexts in Central America.
Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)
Social work with youth, Post-traumatic stress disorder, Family social work, Salvadorans, Social psychology