Missing Ingredient: Spanish-Speaking Hispanics from the Health Literacy Studies in the U.S.

Monday, 30 July 2012: 11:35 AM

Bertha Eloisa Flores, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC
Department of Family & Community Nursing, University of Texas at Austin & University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
Gayle Acton, RN, PhD
School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discuss the role Spanish-speaking Hispanics in the health literacy research arena in the U.S.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to discus the gaps in the health literacy literature as it relates to Spanish-speaking Hispanics and health outcomes.

Purpose: Review qualitative and quantitative studies addressing the relationship of Health literacy and Hispanics in the U.S.

Methods: A literature search was conducted in CINAHL Plus with full text, Ovid Medline, Pub Med and ERIC to include the years between 1996-2010 using the search term literacy, health literacy and Hispanic+.

Study Selection: A total of 80 articles were reviewed; 30 met inclusion criteria. Both qualitative and quantitative studies conducted in the U.S. and written in English met inclusion criteria. Exclusion criteria included studies conducted outside the U.S. and those not written in English.

Results: Few studies 2% (6/30) related to health literacy and Hispanics were conducted in English and Spanish, 33% (9/30) of the studies were from the same data set represented by (76%) non-Hispanic white and (11.2%) Hispanic and may not be a typical sample.

Conclusion: Hispanics in the U.S. represent 44.3 million people (U.S. Census Bureau, 2006). Spanish is the second language most used in the U.S, and remains an important component in the Hispanic population (National Alliance for Hispanic Care, 2001). Yet little is known about the health literacy needs of Spanish-speaking Hispanics living in the U.S.

Implications for practice: Nurses must assess health literacy and be prepared to provide care, which is culturally, and linguistically appropriate to improve health outcomes. Further research is needed to be inclusive of all populations including Spanish-speaking Hispanics.