Older immigrant Latino gay men and childhood sexual abuse: Findings from the Palabras Fuertes project

David Camacho, César V. Rodriguez, Kiara L. Moore, Ellen P. Lukens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) and maltreatment have long-term negative impacts on survivors, including older adults. Yet, limited qualitative examinations of how these experiences impact the lives of older adults exists and even fewer among older Latino gay men. We drew data from life-history narratives the first author conducted with five Spanish speaking older Latino gay men in New York City. Our analyses were guided by an Ecological Model, a Suffering lens, and our clinical social work experience with older adults, sexual minorities and people of color. All participants reported sexual experiences prior to the age of 15 and possible emotional and physical maltreatment. Yet, not all participants perceived these experiences as abuse. Our findings indicate how cultural, linguistic and contextual factors may affect disclosure and coping. Despite the fact that CSA and maltreatment occurred decades ago, these early experiences affected long-term psychosocial functioning. Our findings support a need for future research and clinical practice that considers the subjective perceptions of childhood sexual experiences and maltreatment and how these relate to psychosocial functioning in Latino gay men during older adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)932-955
Number of pages24
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Latino
  • life history
  • older adults
  • sexual abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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