According to Sahagun (1990), the plight of many of these women often includes little to no income, no social security number, no proof of residence or birth certificate, and few public services. These circumstances force the women into a ghetto where they are at least among people who speak their own language; however, because of this ghettoization, they can fall victim to criminals and other types of unethical people who specialize in exploiting Hispanic immigrants, especially if they are illegal.
The difficult conditions which these women experience have been found to be associated with a number of psychoemotional problems including feelings of isolation, insecurity, uncontrolled rage, helplessness, hopelessness, depression, and anxiety (Sahagun, 1990). In other words, there is reason to believe that the mental health of this particular group of women is at great risk.
This means that determining factors which may operate to assist Central American women from falling victim to psychoemotional pressures associated with their immigrant status is a needed and important area of research for this population. This study attempted to address this need by examining factors that may affect (both positively and negatively) the mental health status of a sample of Central American immigrant women.