How Have You Been? or ¿Como estás? Does Language of Interview Influences Self-Rated Health Among Hispanic Subgroups?

Alexis R. Santos-Lozada, Matthew J. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This paper reports language differences in poor/fair self-rated health (SRH) among adults from six Hispanic groups in the United States. Data are from the cross-sectional 1997–2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). The total sample of Hispanic adults with valid information for the variables considered in the study (n = 156,374) included Mexican-Americans (Mex-Am; n = 43,628), Mexicans (n = 55,057), Puerto Ricans (n = 14,631), Cubans (n = 8,041), Dominicans (from Dominican Republican, n = 4,359) and Other Hispanics (n = 30,658). We compared percentage of the population that reported poor/fair SRH among Hispanic individuals by language of interview and across origins using bivariate tests of association. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to study the odds of reporting poor/fair SRH based on language among the overall population and each group. Among the six Hispanic origins Puerto Ricans (15.92%), Cubans (16.36%) and Dominicans (15.32%) reported poor/fair SRH at higher levels than the overall sample (12.32%). In the logistic regression model adjusting potential covariates, those interviewed in Spanish were at higher odds of reporting poor/fair SRH than those interviewed in English (OR = 1.47, p < 0.0001). In the stratified analysis, Mexican–Americans were the only group where language of interview did not affect the odds of reporting poor/fair SRH. There are differences by Hispanic origin for reporting poor/fair SRH, and also by language of interview. Achieving accurate measurement of health status among Hispanics is a concern for all researchers, in particular those who study differences in health status by race/ethnicity in the United States. Future, research should account for Hispanic background and language of interviews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-775
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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