Language of Interview and Self-Rated Health in a Sample of Mothers

Maren Andrea Jimenez, University of Texas at Austin
Xiuhong You, University of Texas at Austin
Yolanda C. Padilla, University of Texas at Austin

Hispanics tend to exhibit better health on many indicators, yet they consistently rate their health as worse than non-Hispanic whites. This incongruent finding has been tied to Spanish-language use and/or other measures of acculturation, questioning the validity of self-reported health for this group. However, there has been no research examining the relationship between self-rated health and language of interview using longitudinal data on mothers and their children. This paper addresses the following questions: 1.What is the relationship between language and self-rated health, and does this relationship change over time? 2.Does the effect of language on self-rated health persist after controlling for measures of acculturation and objective health? Our analyses indicate Hispanics rate their health and their children’s health as worse than those of other groups. Among Hispanics, those who were originally interviewed in Spanish rate their health and that of their children’s lower than those who answered in English, an effect which persists over time.

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Presented in Poster Session 1