School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Thomas C. Vail



Social and Behavioral Sciences


Abstract This phenomenological study aimed to understand and discover the childhood abuse experienced by Christian Latinas in the Western United States. The theory guiding this study was Lazarus and Folkman's stress and coping theory, as it focused on the adaptation to stress as a process of interaction between individuals and stressful stimuli. This study explored issues concerning religious coping and how participants adapted and managed child abuse. Data was collected through a semi-structured interview process, whereby the discussion was recorded to ensure that all pertinent information was collected with participant consent. The interviews lasted 1–1.5 hours each, depending on the candidate's experience level. The data collected were isolated into distinct categories, and eight themes were identified and analyzed. Latina Christian women had difficulties with trauma and struggled to heal childhood abuse. These women experienced childhood trauma, resulting in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, relationship challenges, and behavioral challenges in adulthood. Latinas had a higher prevalence of experiencing child abuse trauma. Also, their cultural values and beliefs made shame and guilt keep them quiet, and they did not seek the treatment they needed. The developmental stage when child abuse occurred, and the perception of the abuse made significant differences in the impact of the trauma. Childhood abuse affects the attachment relationship in adulthood. Trauma-informed care approaches that included cultural values and acceptance were essential in treating the Latina population with a Biblical base that reflected God's love and mercy. Keywords: child abuse, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, Latina, Christian women.