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Analysis of five-year trends in self-reported language preference and issues of item non-response among Hispanic persons in a large cross-sectional health survey: implications for the measurement of an ethnic minority population
  • Published Date:
    Apr 22 2010
  • Source:
    Popul Health Metr. 2010; 8:7.
Filetype[PDF - 392.64 KB]


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  • Description:
    Background

    Significant differences in health outcomes have been documented among Hispanic persons, the fastest-growing demographic segment of the United States. The objective of this study was to examine trends in population growth and the collection of health data among Hispanic persons, including issues of language preference and survey completion using a national health survey to highlight issues of measurement of an increasingly important demographic segment of the United States.

    Design

    Data from the 2003-2007 United States Census and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System were used to compare trends in population growth and survey sample size as well as differences in survey response based on language preference among a Hispanic population. Percentages of item non-response on selected survey questions were compared for Hispanic respondents choosing to complete the survey in Spanish and those choosing to complete the survey in English. The mean number of attempts to complete the survey was also compared based on language preference among Hispanic respondents.

    Results

    The sample size of Hispanic persons in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System saw little growth compared to the actual growth of the Hispanic population in the United States. Significant differences in survey item non-response for nine of 15 survey questions were seen based on language preference. Hispanic respondents choosing to complete the survey in Spanish had a significantly fewer number of call attempts for survey completion compared to their Hispanic counterparts choosing to communicate in English.

    Conclusions

    Including additional measures of acculturation and increasing the sample size of Hispanic persons in a national health survey such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System may result in more precise findings that could be used to better target prevention and health care needs for an ethnic minority population.