Cross-National Perceptions of Trauma

Sara A Romero, Fordham University


In 2003, the estimated lifetime prevalence of trauma exposure in the U.S. was 76%, which was comparable to the prevalence in Mexico (Norris, Murphy, Baker, Perilla, Rodriguez, & Rodriguez, 2003). Of the limited research examining cross-cultural differences, results suggested sociodemographic characteristics and the extent and type of trauma exposure were associated with PTSD differently, if at all, between cultural groups (Atwoli et al., 2015; Norris et al., 2003). For Americans, the research indicated numerous sociodemographic correlates of PTSD (Goldstein et al., 2016). However, research only identified a few sociodemographic correlate of PTSD for Mexicans (Medina-Mora Icaza, Borges-Guimaraes, Lara, Ramos-Lira, Zambrano, & Fleiz-Bautista, 2005). Furthermore, the relationship between PTSD and functional impairment (Charlson, Flaxman, Ferrari, Vos, Steel, & Whiteford, 2016; Gallagher & Mulvaney, 2004) and PTSD with posttraumatic growth (Berger & Weiss, 2006; Dunn et al., 2014; Steger, Frazier, & Zacchanini, 2008) has received limited consideration in cross-cultural research. Lastly, recent research indicated perceptions of trauma influenced the expression of trauma reactions (Terheggen, Stroebe, & Kleber, 2001), which may explain the cross-national variance in PTSD prevalence between the U.S. and Mexico. This study 1) identified predictors of PTSD symptom severity, functional impairment, and posttraumatic growth for Americans and Mexicans, 2) found a paradoxical relationship between PTSD symptom severity and functional impairment for Mexicans, 3) identified between-group differences in the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and self-perceptions of trauma difficulty for specific life events, and 4) identified specific underlying social comparison processes and default effects of perceptions of trauma difficulty related to PTSD symptom severity.

Subject Area

Clinical psychology|American studies|Latin American Studies

Recommended Citation

Romero, Sara A, "Cross-National Perceptions of Trauma" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13880366.