Translation and validation of a spanish-language genetic health literacy screening tool

Sally Ann Rodríguez, Debra L. Roter, Carlos Castillo-Salgado, Gillian W. Hooker, Lori H. Erby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective: Literacy deficits and underutilization of medical services have been linked to health disparities among minorities, and this appears especially relevant for the Latino population. Given the increasing importance of genetics, assessment of genetic health literacy may direct future efforts to better serve this vulnerable population. The current study was designed to contribute to this area by translating and validating a Spanish-language genetic health literacy measure. Method: This was a cross-sectional study involving an interviewer-administered questionnaire. Eligible individuals were Latinos between the ages of 18 and 75 residing in Maryland, who self-reported Spanish as their primary language, recruited through convenience sampling. The genetic health literacy measure components were adapted from existing English-language measures [Erby, Roter, Larson, & Cho's (2008) Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Genetics (REAL-G) and Hooker et al.'s (2014) Genetic Literacy and Comprehension]. An existing Spanish-language general health literacy measure was used to establish preliminary concurrent validity [Lee, Bender, Ruiz, & Cho's (2006) SAHLSA]. Results: 116 individuals completed the assessment. The Spanish-language REAL-G (REAL-GSp) was found to correlate well with the SAHLSA (Pearson's r = 77, p < .01). A cut-off score of 59 (out of 62) distinguished low versus high genetic health literacy with a sensitivity of 86% and specificity of 71%, identifying 28% of participants as having inadequate genetic health literacy. Conclusions: The REAL-G-Sp was found to have preliminary concurrent validity with an existing health literacy measure in the Latino population residing in Maryland. Significant proportions of this population are predicted to have limitations in genetic health literacy, even when information is provided in Spanish.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-129
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Genetic health literacy
  • Health literacy
  • Measure development
  • Spanish-language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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