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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UNMC: Study Underscores Importance of Cultural Aspects When Developing Health Literacy Interventions

A growing body of research indicates that Hispanics in the U.S. have the lowest average of health literacy among all racial and ethnic groups in the nation and in the Midwest. While studies have found that health literacy interventions that implement cultural adaptations for minority populations are more likely to be effective in addressing their health care needs, very little is known about the association between health literacy and acculturation in Hispanic populations in the U.S. To address this gap, Dr. Armando De Alba and his team from the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Public Health conducted a study “to assess the prevalence and association of acculturation with low levels of health literacy and demographic variables in Spanish-speaking Hispanics residing in urban and rural Midwest.”

Dr. De Alba and colleagues measured levels of acculturation in Spanish-speaking adult Hispanics (N=401) accessing community health centers in rural and urban Nebraska. They used a survey that included the Bidimensional Acculturation Scale for Hispanics/Linguistic Proficiency Subscale (BAS/LP) and the Short Assessment of Health Literacy in Spanish (SAHL-S). They reported that a total of 85 percent of the total participants had low levels of acculturation to US culture. Of the 15 percent of the participants who showed themselves to be bicultural, 81 percent reported adequate levels of health literacy in Spanish.

The researchers conclude: “This study underscores the importance of considering the cultural aspects of the Hispanic community for the development of health literacy interventions and education programs…”

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