This study was designed to examine interpersonal victimization among a national sample of Latino women, particularly focusing on help-seeking behaviors, culturally relevant factors, and psychosocial impacts. More specifically, the researchers aimed to fulfill the following research goals:
- Determine the extent of sexual victimization amongst adult Latino females.
- Determine the coexistence of other forms of victimization among those sexually victimized.
- Examine formal service utilization among sexually victimized Latino women.
- Examine informal help-seeking among sexually victimized Latino women.
- Examine culturally-relevant factors associated with the experience of and responses to sexual violence.
- Determine the psychosocial impact of sexual victimization on Latino women.
A national sample of 2,000 adult Latino women living in the United States participated in the study. An experienced survey research firm with specialization in doing surveys that ask about sensitive subjects (e.g., interpersonal violence) conducted the interviews in either English or Spanish using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview (CATI) system. The interviewers were specifically trained on the SALAS survey and closely supervised during the data collection process. Only female interviewers were used since previous surveys using this methodology showed that potential respondents were more likely to participate in the study if the interviewer is a woman. An initial attempt and four callbacks were made to reach a specific household, and then an additional three calls were made once a case was reached until final disposition was obtained (e.g., a completed survey or refusal). All calls were made between 5pm and 9pm during the weekdays, between 10am and 9pm on Saturdays, and 11am to 9pm on Sundays and all interviews were conducted between May 28, 2008 and September 3, 2008.
Once a respondent was selected, they were read the informed consent and asked if they were willing to participate in the study. If they agreed to participate, they were interviewed at the current time or asked if they wished to be called back at a more convenient time. Before starting the survey questions, participants were given a code phrase to say ("OK, you're welcome") if they needed to suddenly end the call (e.g., due to safety or confidentiality concerns). Participants were then asked the various study instruments in the following order: questions about state of social issues, demographic information, acculturation, lifetime victimization, help-seeking behaviors for the event that took place in the United States that was most upsetting, religiosity, gender role ideology, psychological symptoms, and posttraumatic symptoms. Upon completion of the survey, participants were paid $10 for their participation
The study entrance criteria were that participants needed to be women over the age of 18 who self-identified as Latino (either foreign or United States born), and whose primary language was either English or Spanish. To generate a national sample of Latino women living in the United States, probability samples of households with landline telephones were constructed using a random digit dial method (RDD). For this project, the sample was drawn from telephone numbers stratified by Hispanic household density per hundred block. Of the 69,549 numbers dialed in total, 5,075 (7 percent) came from areas with 20 percent or lower Hispanic density, 4,398 (6 percent) were drawn from areas with 21 to 40 percent Hispanic density, 4,183 (6 percent) were drawn from areas with 41 to 60 percent Hispanic density, 3,953 (6 percent) were drawn from areas with 61 to 80 percent Hispanic density, and 51,940 (75 percent) were sampled from areas with 80 percent or higher Hispanic density. 38 percent of these cases sampled yielded working, non-business numbers, while 27 percent were screened out as numbers corresponding to non-Hispanic households or households with no Hispanic females.
The selected houses were contacted between May 28, 2008 and September 3, 2008 by trained, female interviewers from an experienced survey research firm. Telephone numbers that yielded non-residential contacts such as businesses, churches, and college dormitories, were screened out. Only households, i.e., residences in which any number of related individuals or no more than five unrelated persons living together, were eligible for inclusion in the sample. If a residential household was reached, then the interviewer asked about the total number of age-eligible Latino females in the household. If there was only one eligible individual, that individual was asked to participate; if there was more than one eligible participant, then the "most recent/next birthday" method was used to decide which individual to interview.
In the final sample of 2,000 Latino women, 16 (.8 percent) came from areas with 20 percent or lower Hispanic density, 42 (2 percent) came from areas with 21 to 40 percent Hispanic density, 41 (2 percent) came from areas with 41 to 60 percent Hispanic density, 111 (6 percent) came from areas with 61 to 80 percent Hispanic density and 1,790 (90 percent) came from areas with 80 percent or higher Hispanic density.
All adult Latino women, ages 18 years or older, living in the United States who had a landline phone in their household between May and September of 2008.
Northeastern University, Sexual Assault Among Latinas Study (SALAS)
The data contain a total of 1,388 variables including demographics, state of social issues, victimization history, help-seeking efforts, mental health status, and religious behavior and beliefs variables. Regarding demographics, the dataset has questions on the participant's age, country of origin, citizenship status, preferred language, sexual orientation, education level, employment status, household income, housing status, and relationship status (e.g., married, single, etc). In addition, the data include questions that assess the degree to which participants view discrimination, violent crime, domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment as problems in society. The survey also asks questions about stalking, physical assaults, weapon assaults, physical assaults in childhood, threats, threats with weapons, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, sexual fondling, kidnapping, and witnessed victimization. Moreover, the data contain information on the actions taken by respondents following victimization, including formal (e.g., reporting to police, getting medical care, seeking legal remedies) and informal (e.g., talking to friends, family, or the clergy) forms of help-seeking. Lastly, the dataset includes variables on respondent religiosity/spirituality, acculturation and minority/majority cultural identities, sex role characteristics, psychological symptoms, and posttraumatic and trauma related symptomatology.
The minimum response rate for the sample was 30.7 percent and minimum cooperation rate was 53.7 percent. The refusal rate for the sample was 20.8 percent. Rate calculations were based on standard American Association for Public Opinion Research formulas.
- State of Social Issues Questionnaire (SSIQ) was developed specifically for this survey to evaluate the participants' view of how much of a problem discrimination, violent crime, domestic violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment were in society.
- Lifetime Trauma and Victimization History (LTVH) was used to evaluate lifetime victimization using an adapted version of the Lifetime Trauma and Victimization History questionnaire.
- Help-Seeking Questionnaire (HSQ) was developed to investigate the actions taken by respondents after victimization.
- Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS) was developed to measure religiosity.
- Brief Acculturation Rating Scale of Mexican-Americans-II (Brief ARSMA-II) was used to evaluate participant acculturation.
- Short Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI-Short Form) was used to measure sex-typed personality characteristics.
- Trauma Symptom Inventory (TSI) was used to assess trauma-related symptomatology. For this study, researchers used the Anxious Arousal, Depression, Anger/Irritability, and Dissociation scales of the TSI.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL) was used to assess trauma-related symptomatology.