Date of Award

12-17-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Julia Perilla

Second Advisor

Gabriel Kuperminc

Abstract

Domestic violence (DV) affects communities across a variety of nations and cultures, at significant physical, psychological, and economic costs to families. In the United States Latino families affected by DV often face unique challenges influenced by changing ecologies and personal as well as political histories. Peer-led workshops are one way for communities to disseminate information about social issues like DV in a culturally relevant manner, and they have the potential to promote capacity for addressing DV within communities. The impact of peer-led DV was examined using an embedded mixed-method design, where participant feedback collected throughout the study served to enhance the nonequivalent control group survey portion of the study. It was hypothesized that sense of community would moderate the relationship between workshop participation and capacity measures of knowledge, communication, and identification with Latina community leaders. Data screening and linear regression found no effects of workshop participation for knowledge and communication. A linear regression supported the hypothesized workshop by sense of community interaction effect, where individuals with higher sense of community were more likely to connect with workshop leaders in the workshop condition. Themes that emerged from the analysis of qualitative data from individual questionnaires, researcher notes, and a group interview were: (1) connection to the larger community organization, (2) family communication about domestic violence, (3) interest in support for Latino youth and (4) community leader’s testimonies of their own experiences of violence. Together, quantitative and qualitative findings lend weight to the notion that peer interventionists can establish meaningful connections and trust with community members based on their own lived experiences. Further research is needed to link this strength in a peer-led DV program to gains in capacity domains like knowledge. Overall, the results of this study extend research on cultural specific DV community programs and provide recommendations for community organizations seeking to evaluate community-based programs.

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