Predicting Avoidance Symptoms in U.S. Latino Youth Exposed to Community Violence: The Role of Cultural Values and Behavioral Inhibition

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College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Psychology


Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Violence, Latino, Youth


Not all youth exposed to violence are at equal risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reflecting potential variability in risk factors influencing the development of PTSD beyond exposure to violence. In particular, Latino youth have been found to be at a higher risk for developing PTSD after exposure to violence. Similarly, youth with high levels of behavioral inhibition appear to be at greater risk of developing PTSD following exposure to violence. In this study, we examined how Latino cultural values might be associated with behavioral inhibition and how these two factors together may interact to predict risk for developing PTSD avoidance symptoms, specifically. Data from a longitudinal sample of 168 Latino adolescents (11-15 years of age) indicated that Latino values were positively associated with behavioral inhibition, r = .26, p < .001, and that Latino values moderated the association between behavioral inhibition and avoidance symptoms, β = .16, p = .009, such that the association was stronger as Latino cultural values increased. Results from this study highlight the importance of considering cultural, individual, and contextual factors for understanding risk for PTSD. Future research should further assess the biological and cultural correlates of behavioral inhibition in order to improve understanding of risk and increase effectiveness of individualized intervention approaches.

Predicción de los síntomas de evitación en jóvenes latinos estadounidenses expuestos a la violencia comunitaria: El rol de los valores culturales y la inhibición conductual VALORES CULTURALES E INHIBICIÓN CONDUCTUAL No todos los jóvenes expuestos a la violencia presentan el mismo riesgo de desarrollar un trastorno por estrés postraumático (TEPT), lo que refleja la variabilidad potencial en los factores de riesgo que influyen en el desarrollo del TEPT más allá de la exposición a la violencia. En particular, se ha descubierto que los jóvenes latinos presentan un riesgo mayor de desarrollar TEPT después de la exposición a la violencia. Similarmente, los jóvenes con altos niveles de inhibición conductual parecen estar en un riesgo mayor de desarrollar TEPT luego de la exposición a la violencia. En este estudio, examinamos cómo los valores culturales latinos podrían estar asociados con la inhibición conductual y cómo estos dos factores juntos pueden interactuar para predecir el riesgo de desarrollar síntomas de evitación del TEPT, específicamente. Datos de una muestra longitudinal de 168 adolescentes latinos (rango de edades de 11–15 años) indicó que los valores culturales latinos se asociaron positivamente con la inhibición conductual, r = .26, p

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Copyright is held by the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. User is responsible for all copyright compliance. This article was originally published as:

Schneider, A., & Gudiño, O. G. (2018). Predicting avoidance symptoms in U.S. Latino youth exposed to community violence: The role of cultural values and behavioral inhibition. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31(4), 509-517.

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International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies


Received from CHORUS


English (eng)

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Journal of Traumatic Stress





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