Send to

Choose Destination
J Health Commun. 2017 May;22(5):442-450. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2017.1304470. Epub 2017 Apr 17.

Understanding Spanish-Language Response in a National Health Communication Survey: Implications for Health Communication Research.

Author information

a School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts , University of California, Merced , Merced , California , USA.
b Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences , National Cancer Institute , Bethesda , Maryland , USA.
c Cancer Prevention and Control Program , Mayo Clinic , Rochester , Minnesota , USA.


Spanish-speaking Latinos account for 13% of the U.S. population yet are chronically under-represented in national surveys; additionally, the response quality suffers from low literacy rates and translation challenges. These are the same issues that health communicators face when understanding how best to communicate important health information to Latinos. The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) offers a unique opportunity to understand the health communication landscape and information needs of the U.S.


We describe the challenges in recruiting Spanish-speaking HINTS respondents and strategies used to improve rates and quality of responses among Spanish-speaking Latinos. Cognitive interviewing techniques helped to better understand how Spanish-speaking Latinos were interpreting the survey questions, and the extent to which these interpretations matched English-speaking respondents' interpretations. Some Spanish-speaking respondents had difficulty with the questions because of a lack of access to health care. Additionally, Spanish-speaking respondents had a particularly hard time answering questions that were presented in a grid format. We describe the cognitive interview process, and consider the impact of format changes on Spanish-speaking people's responses and response quality. We discuss challenges that remain in understanding health information needs of non-English-speakers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center