Interview language: A proxy measure for acculturation among asian americans in a population-based survey

Sunghee Lee, Hoang Anh Nguyen, Jennifer Tsui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


We examined health status and access to care among Asian Americans by the following acculturation indicators: nativity, percent lifetime in the US, self-rated English proficiency, and interview language, to assess whether any measure better distinguishes acculturation. Data from the 2003 California Health Interview Survey were used to study the sample of 4,170 US-born and foreign-born Asians by acculturation indicators. We performed t-tests to compare differences in demographics, health status and behaviors, and access to care between the foreign-born and US-born Asians, and between various classifications within foreign-born and the US-born Asian group. Our results showed that foreign-born Asians who interviewed in English more closely resembled US-born Asians than foreign-born Asians who interviewed in languages other than English. Compared to interview language, dichotomizing the sample by other acculturation indicators showed smaller differences between the divided groups. Interview language may serve as a better measure for acculturation especially among foreign-born populations with a high proportion of limited English proficiency. In immigrant public health research studies, interview language may be used as an important covariate for health disparities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-252
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Acculturation
  • Asian American
  • Nativity


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