Effects of language of assessment on the measurement of acculturation: measurement equivalence and cultural frame switching

Psychol Assess. 2014 Mar;26(1):100-114. doi: 10.1037/a0034717. Epub 2013 Nov 4.


The present study used a randomized design, with fully bilingual Hispanic participants from the Miami area, to investigate 2 sets of research questions. First, we sought to ascertain the extent to which measures of acculturation (Hispanic and U.S. practices, values, and identifications) satisfied criteria for linguistic measurement equivalence. Second, we sought to examine whether cultural frame switching would emerge--that is, whether latent acculturation mean scores for U.S. acculturation would be higher among participants randomized to complete measures in English and whether latent acculturation mean scores for Hispanic acculturation would be higher among participants randomized to complete measures in Spanish. A sample of 722 Hispanic students from a Hispanic-serving university participated in the study. Participants were first asked to complete translation tasks to verify that they were fully bilingual. Based on ratings from 2 independent coders, 574 participants (79.5% of the sample) qualified as fully bilingual and were randomized to complete the acculturation measures in either English or Spanish. Theoretically relevant criterion measures--self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and personal identity--were also administered in the randomized language. Measurement equivalence analyses indicated that all of the acculturation measures--Hispanic and U.S. practices, values, and identifications-met criteria for configural, weak/metric, strong/scalar, and convergent validity equivalence. These findings indicate that data generated using acculturation measures can, at least under some conditions, be combined or compared across languages of administration. Few latent mean differences emerged. These results are discussed in terms of the measurement of acculturation in linguistically diverse populations.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acculturation*
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Florida
  • Hispanic or Latino / ethnology
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Multilingualism*
  • Psychometrics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Translations*