Ethnocultural differences in traumatic symptomatology

Date of Completion

January 2003


Psychology, Clinical|Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies




The purpose of the present study was to examine ethnocultural differences among Whites, Blacks, and Latino/as in trauma symptomatology. It was hypothesized that people of Color would have higher severity of the PTSD indicators of Re-experiencing, Avoidance, and Hyperarousal than Whites. Blacks would have the highest severity of dissociation, followed by Latino/as, then Whites. Latino/as would have the highest severity of somatization. Due to differences in severity of trauma symptoms, people of Color will have higher rates of PTSD and DESNOS when compared to Whites. Participants included 246 adults who are seeking mental health services for non-trauma-specific diagnoses but have experienced an interpersonal trauma. Hypotheses were not supported. In fact, for the PTSD indicators, dissociation and somatization Whites indicated the highest severities. This pattern remained true even after considering numerous possible confounding variables. Whites also endorsed more PTSD and DESNOS. Possible explanations are considered, including the possible cultural-specific nature of the trauma symptoms and/or the measures. ^