Seeking Information on Behalf of Others: An Analysis of Calls to a Spanish-Language Radio Health Program.

Research paper by A Susana AS Ramirez, Bryan B Leyva, Kaitlin K Graff, David E DE Nelson, Elmer E Huerta

Indexed on: 27 Feb '15Published on: 27 Feb '15Published in: Health promotion practice


Spanish-monolingual Latinos account for 13% of U.S. residents and experience multiple barriers to effective health communication. Information intermediaries/proxies mediate between the linguistically isolated and health care providers. This study characterizes the information needs of surrogate callers and their subjects to a U.S.-based Spanish-language radio health program.Content analysis of calls placed (N = 281 calls).Women made 70% of calls; 39.1% of calls were on behalf of children, 11.0% on behalf of parents/older adults, and 18.5% on behalf of spouses/siblings/contemporary adults. Most common topics were disease symptoms/conditions (19.6%), cancer (13.9%), and reproduction/sexuality (12.9%). Calls for children were more likely than those for parents/other adults to pertain to current illness symptoms or conditions; calls for parents were more likely to be about cancer/chronic conditions. Half of all calls sought clarification about a previous medical encounter.Information-seeking surrogates may represent a useful strategy for linguistic minorities to overcome structural and individual barriers to health information access. Results suggest that Latinos are willing to seek information on behalf of friends and family and highlight the need for improved, culturally and linguistically appropriate health communication sources.Leveraging Latinos' natural familial social networks/willingness to share information may improve dissemination of culturally and linguistically appropriate health information. Further implications for patient activation and doctor-patient communication are discussed.