Research led by Dr. Rachel Davis, assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior (University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health) has resulted in a bilingual, survey-based simpatía scale. The study was published in the journal, Nursing Research.
“Simpatía, which does not have a direct English translation, refers to being perceived as likeable, pleasant and easy-going,” Dr. Davis says. “Through its influence on social interactions, simpatía may have a wide-ranging influence on Latinx health.”
There is limited previous research on the influence of simpatía on Latinx health — largely due to a lack of options for measuring simpatía among diverse Latinx populations. This study sought to develop a bilingual, survey-based simpatía scale for use among ethnically diverse Latinx adults in health related settings.
Dr. Davis and her team obtained data through a telephone survey (in English and Spanish) of nearly 1300 Mexican-American, Puerto-Rican and Cuban-American adults living in the U.S. The researchers developed a 9-item simpatía scale that demonstrated a high internal consistency and measurement invariance among the three groups of participants.
Their findings resulted in two dimensions, as indicated by a perceptions subscale and behavior subscale. The authors concluded that Cuban Americans had the highest simpatía scores, followed by Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans.
“Culture is often identified as a powerful potential influence on health-related behaviors, but measures are often not available to assess specific cultural traits,” Dr. Davis says. “By developing a new tool for measuring simpatía, this research advances opportunities for understanding and promoting Latinx health.”Tags: Friday Letter Submission