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Clin Psychol Rev. 2013 Feb;33(1):107-19. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.10.005. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Conditional risk for PTSD among Latinos: a systematic review of racial/ethnic differences and sociocultural explanations.

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Department of Society, Human Development, and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.


Conditional risk for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)--defined as prevalence, onset, persistence, or severity of PTSD after traumatic exposure--appears to be higher among Latinos relative to non-Latinos after accounting for sociodemographic factors. This systematic review focuses on differences in conditional risk for PTSD between Latinos and non-Latinos (White, Black, or combined) and across Latino subgroups in studies that adjust for trauma exposure. We discuss methodological characteristics of existing articles and sociocultural explanatory factors. Electronic bibliographic searches were conducted for English-language articles published in peer-reviewed journals between 1991 and 2012. We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Twenty-eight articles met inclusion criteria. Consistent support was found for elevated rates of PTSD onset and PTSD severity among Latinos relative to non-Latino Whites. The evidence on racial/ethnic differences in conditional risk for PTSD prevalence and PTSD persistence is mixed. Twenty-four articles evaluated sociocultural explanations, with the strongest support found for racial/ethnic variation in peri-traumatic responses and structure of PTSD. There were also consistent main effects for social disadvantage in studies that simultaneously adjusted for effects of race/ethnicity. Future research should use theoretically-driven models to formally test for interactions between sociocultural factors, race/ethnicity, and PTSD probability.

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