Date of Award


Degree Name



Public Health


Thenral Mangadu


Quality of life (QOL) is an emerging significant public health concern. The QOL among the women living in the U.S.-MX border region is different than that of other parts of the United States. The unique characteristics of U.S.-MX border include lower socioeconomic status, immigration and acculturation challenges. These along with social, structural, and regional norms place individuals, particularly women, living in this region at high-risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder (SUD), weakened social connectedness, and domestic violence, which in turn affect their QOL. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of PTSD and social connectedness on the QOL among the women living in the U.S.-MX border and in treatment for SUD and/or trauma.

HypoThesis: There is a negative correlation between PTSD and QOL and there is a positive correlation between social connectedness and QOL. Above and beyond demographic covariates and PTSD symptoms, social connectedness adds to the prediction of QOL among the women in the study population.

Methods: A mixed-methods design was used. Secondary data analysis was conducted using 203 quantitative survey and responses from participants of 4 focus groups. Descriptive statistical analyses were conducted for the demographic variables. Pearson correlation and hierarchical regression analysis were conducted for quantitative data analysis. Themes and categories were identified from the qualitative data (focus groups; N= 26) and results from quantitative and qualitative data were triangulated.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 31.2 (10.06 years), predominantly Hispanics (88.7%), 66% unemployed. Hierarchical regression analysis revealed that PTSD negatively predicts QOL, and after controlling demographics and PTSD, social connectedness does not add to the prediction of QOL. The qualitative data analysis revealed that the overall QOL among the participants is "good" (79%) and there is a mixed opinion about the effects of social connectedness and PTSD on QOL among participants.

Conclusions: This study is among very few studies that address the QOL and its' predictors among the Hispanic women with SUD and/or trauma living in the U.S.-MX border region. Study findings suggest that PTSD and social connectedness must be explored while designing and implementing mental health and SUD interventions for the study population. However, social network norms related to gender roles and family structure need to be examined in relation to social connectedness as support or barrier to addressing trauma.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

78 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Tamanna Ferdous