Reversal of associations between Spanish language use and mammography and pap smear testing

J Immigr Minor Health. 2013 Apr;15(2):255-61. doi: 10.1007/s10903-012-9694-3.


Latina women are less likely to utilize cancer screening services than are non-Latina White women. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between preferred language (English vs. Spanish) and receipt of mammography and Pap-smear testing among US Latinas and non-Latinas. Cross-sectional analysis of the 2008 and 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys. While Latinas responding to the BRFSS in English or in Spanish had unadjusted lower odds of receiving mammography testing, in multivariable analysis Latinas responding-in-Spanish had 2.20 times the odds (OR = 2.20, 95 % CI, 1.90-2.55) of reporting mammography compared to non-Latinas. Similarly, Latinas responding-in- Spanish had lower unadjusted odds of receiving Pap-smear testing. However, Latinas responding-in-Spanish had 2.37 times the odds (OR = 2.37 CI, 2.04-2.75) of reporting having received Pap smear testing compared to non-Latinas in multivariate analysis. The results of this paper further confirm the "reversed associations" among Latinas and mammography and Pap smear testing described in previous studies and suggest that in addition to insurance status, preferred language may be a key variable contributing to the reversal phenomenon observed among Latinas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Language Arts*
  • Mammography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vaginal Smears / statistics & numerical data*