First Advisor

Hess, Robyn S.

Document Type


Date Created



This dissertation study explored how the integration of common Latino cultural values within Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) influenced the treatment outcomes of Latina adolescents with a history of trauma. Latino adolescents and their parents often experience great difficulties in attempting to access effective mental health services that are sensitive to their cultural needs. Therefore, the present study sought to understand the impact of participation in Culturally-Modified Trauma-Focused Treatment (CM-TFT) on working alliance, therapeutic engagement, and overall posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomatology. In this mixed methods study, four adolescents and two mothers participated in CM-TFT. A self-report scale to measure PTSD symptomatology, as well as an ethnic identity and a working alliance measure were used with the participating Latina adolescents. Pre- and post-intervention semi-structured interviews were completed and the use of culturally modified components were tracked throughout CM-TFT. Results revealed that all adolescents and mothers who completed CM-TFT tended to experience their working alliance with me as their therapist as strong and cultural modifications made in treatment were reported as playing an important role in this process. All participants observed a decrease in PTSD symptoms and experienced improvements in their academic and school functioning. These findings contribute to the literature on the impactful influence that cultural modifications have on the working alliance, engagement, and attendance of Latina adolescents in therapy, the importance of parental involvement in trauma-focused therapy, and the how-to factor of modifying trauma-focused interventions for Latina adolescents and their mothers.


Adolescent, Culture, Latina, Trauma


264 pages

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