Abstract TP185: Stroke Symptom Recognition is Associated With Everyday Linguistic Style and not With Acculturation in Hispanic Americans

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Background and Purpose: Prompt recognition and emergency response toward acute stroke has been related in prior literature to reduced delays to treatment. Among Hispanics, disproportionate delays to acute treatment have been related to disparities of knowledge and reduced likelihood to activate 911. Prior research has supported the hypothesis that knowledge of stroke for Hispanics may vary in accordance with non-traditional risk factors including acculturation. The Stroke Action Test (STAT) is an instrument designed to assess stroke knowledge in English speakers based on intended behavioral response, with symptoms phrased in medical and everyday language. The purpose of this study was to assess stroke knowledge in a community sample of Hispanics using a pilot Spanish translation of the STAT. A second objective was to assess the hypothesis that stroke knowledge varies according to acculturation level. Finally, the study assessed the degree to which language style (everyday/medical) was associated with stroke knowledge.

Methods: A pilot sample of 94 Hispanics completed interviews including demographics, the Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH), and STAT. Data were analyzed using Pearson correlations, independent and dependent t-testing. Internal consistency for the Spanish STAT was assessed with Cronbach’s alpha.

Results: Data from this pilot sample of a Spanish STAT indicated that stroke knowledge was low (32%), though similar to a general population sample. Internal consistency of the Spanish STAT was good (α=0.83). No relationship was found between acculturation (SASH) and STAT ( r = 0.08, p = 0.44). A significant relationship was found between language style and stroke knowledge in Spanish speakers ( p = .006, r=.32 ), with everyday language relating to greater symptom recognition.

Discussion/Conclusion: Although results are preliminary, these pilot data suggest that language style may play an important role in understanding of stroke symptoms and likelihood of emergency response among Hispanics. The finding that everyday language was associated with more frequent 911 responses may warrant further investigation into the finer linguistic constituents of everyday style and its relationship to urgent behavioral responses.

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