Feminine Gender Identification and Mother-Daughter Connectedness as Predictors and Sociocultural Buffers Against Adult Sexual Victimization in Latinas and Caucasians
Pobee-Mensah, Erika A.
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The growing body of literature on childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has highlighted increased risk for adult re-victimization and transgenerational sexual abuse such that children of adult women with CSA histories are at increased risk for being sexually abused. Despite these research trends, there is less research specific to victimization risk and transgenerational sexual abuse. Furthermore, there is limited information on ethnic/racial differences in these trends, particularly regarding Latinas. Despite research suggesting an over-representation of reported CSA among Latina children, there are apparent disparities suggesting underreporting of sexual victimization among Latinas in adulthood. The present study examines interactional effects of sociocultural factors, such as Latina Feminine Identity, internalized sexual objectification, and mother-daughter connectedness as either potential buffers against, or predictors of sexual victimization in Latinas. Furthermore, the study explored whether these same independent variables predicted trauma symptoms as well. The current study aimed to create a new measure in the field that operationally defines the Latina identity based on the theoretical literature, which speaks to the duality of Latina feminine identity epitomizing saintly qualities similar to the Virgin Mary as the consummate mother and caretaker, as well as the powerful seductress who owns her beauty and sensuality as a woman. It was supported that high maternal connectedness was a buffer against sexual victimization in Latina women, but not Caucasian women. Additionally, the desirability quality was found to be related to increased risk of sexual victimization in Latina women who had low connectedness with their mothers. Findings for trauma symptoms and sexual objectification were marginal overall, with some indication that Caucasians reported more sexual objectification than Latinas and a negative correlation between trauma symptoms and sexual victimization among Caucasians.