“Rural-Specific” Types of Childhood Trauma in Rural Communities

“Rural-Specific” Types of Childhood Trauma in Rural Communities

Roberto Jose Velasquez (New Mexico State University, USA) and Yadira Juarez (San Diego State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0228-9.ch011
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Abstract

In this chapter, the authors discuss eight types of trauma that Latino children are likely to encounter by residing in rural or geographically-isolated communities. The authors contend that there exist more “rural-specific” types of childhood trauma that Latino children are at-risk for when compared to “urban-specific” types of trauma. For example, Latino children who reside in rural communities are more likely to traumatized by parental deportation, migrating from one town to another because parents follow the harvest, language brokering or translating for their parents, experiencing or witnessing farming accidents, relocating from the city to the country, isolation from extended family, pesticide poisoning of the child or a family member, and living in labor camps or substandard housing. It is important to note that Latino children, like children from other cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds, can experience all types of trauma irrespective of whether they reside in urban or rural settings.
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Introduction

The primary aim of this chapter is to discuss eight common types of trauma that Latino children are likely to encounter by residing in rural or geographically-isolated communities. A secondary aim is to briefly discuss some interventions that can be used with traumatized Latino children. A third aim is to present some directions for future research on childhood trauma in Latino children who reside in rural and geographically-isolated communities.

A systematic review of the scientific literature indicates that there is a growing body of research on trauma in Latino children, with the majority of the research conducted in large urban or metropolitan communities. As the Latino population grows and continues to spread across the country, including into rural and geographically-isolated communities, there is also an increasing awareness of the mental health needs of Latino families and their children. In urban communities, Latino families and their children are at-risk for “urban-specific” forms of trauma and in rural communities they are likely to encounter different types of trauma.

It is the contention of these authors, that childhood trauma can be viewed from the perspective of urban versus rural types of trauma, especially in Latino children because of the social, economic, and political circumstances of Latino families. While Latino children are not immune from the infinitesimal types of trauma that can occur to them by living in either type of setting, there are some forms of trauma that are more likely to occur when living in rural communities. Below are some examples of the types of trauma that Latino children are at-risk for in these communities.

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