Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Leslie McCall

Committee Members

Jeremy Porter

Holly Reed

Juan Battle

Subject Categories

Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Medicine and Health | Migration Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Social Psychology and Interaction


Puerto Rico, Coloniality, Mental Health, Latinx, Gendered Violence


As of January 2021, after years of community organizing and protests, the Puerto Rican island government announced a state of emergency due to the high rates of gendered violence on the island. At the same time, within the field of psychiatric epidemiology, consistent findings have indicated higher frequencies of mood disorders and substance abuse disorders among Puerto Ricans both on and off the island, relative to all other US Latinx ethnic groups. This dissertation frames Puerto Ricans experiences with psychological distress and gendered violence as public health issues nested within differing geographies of colonial divestment. I explore the relationships between key community level sociodemographic variables, measures of colonial divestment, and rates of mental illness and gendered violence across Puerto Rico’s judicial and health regions. Data from the National Health Interview Survey, the Puerto Rican Community Survey, the Puerto Rican Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services Administration, the Puerto Rico Office of Management and Budget, the Puerto Rico Department of Education, the Bureau of Puerto Rican Police, and the Puerto Rican Department of Justice are all sourced to unmask the contemporary consequences of coloniality on the physical and psychological wellbeing of Puerto Rican women on and off the island.