Literacy and depressive symptomatology among pregnant Latinas with limited English proficiency

Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2007 Apr;77(2):243-8. doi: 10.1037/0002-9432.77.2.243.


Latina immigrants with limited English proficiency face significant obstacles to using maternal health services. Using a measure of reading skill and problem solving in the health context (the Spanish version of the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults), the authors assessed the association between literacy in Spanish and depressive symptomatology among 99 Latinas receiving prenatal care who had limited English proficiency. After adjusting for potential confounds, women with inadequate literacy were found to be more than twice as likely to have Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale scores greater than 16 (the standard clinical threshold) than women with adequate literacy. The association between low literacy and depressive symptomatology among pregnant Latinas deserves further investigation and should be considered when designing health services for this vulnerable and growing population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Multilingualism*
  • Poverty / psychology
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires