Language preference and perceptions of healthcare providers' communication and autonomy making behaviors among Hispanics

J Immigr Minor Health. 2009 Dec;11(6):453-9. doi: 10.1007/s10903-008-9192-9. Epub 2008 Sep 24.


Background: To examine influence of language preference-English versus Spanish-on Hispanics' perceptions of their healthcare providers' communication behaviors.

Methods: Using the 2005 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), we observed non-institutionalized Hispanics (n = 5197; US population estimate = 27,070,906), aged >or=18 years, reporting visiting a healthcare provider within the past 12 months.

Results: When compared to Spanish responders (reference group), English responders were more likely to report that their healthcare provider "always" listened to them carefully (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.39, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09-1.78), "always" explained things so that they understood (adjusted OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.08-1.73), "always" spent enough time with them (adjusted OR = 1.62, 95% CI 1.24-2.11),"always" asked them to help make decisions (adjusted OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.03-1.82), and "always" showed respect for treatment decisions (adjusted OR = 1.66, 95% CI 1.27-2.19).

Discussion: Healthcare providers should consider the complex needs of Hispanic patients whose language of choice is not English.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Translating
  • United States
  • Young Adult