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Barriers to Health Care for Abused Latina and Asian Immigrant Women


This study identifies social, political, and cultural barriers to help seeking from health care organizations faced by abused Latina and Asian immigrant women. Qualitative data were collected through four semistructured ethnic-specific focus group interviews with 28 abused Latina and Asian immigrant women. Participants who had suffered intimate partner abuse were recruited through urban community-based organizations in San Francisco, California. Sociopolitical barriers to help seeking and patient-provider communication included social isolation, language barriers, and, for some, discrimination and fears of deportation. Sociocultural barriers included dedication to the children and family unity, shame related to the abuse, and the cultural stigma of divorce. Abused Latina and Asian immigrant women face significant social, cultural, and political barriers to patient-provider communication and help seeking. Medical and social service providers and policy makers may improve the quality of care for these women by understanding and addressing these barriers.

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