Examining the Relationship between English Proficiency and Health Care Experiences in the United States




Lemus, Alejandra G.

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People with limited English proficiency (LEP) tend to be underserved and vulnerable in the United States health care system. Research has shown that LEP patients are more likely to have lower levels of education, be uninsured, have lower levels of income, and are more likely to experience discrimination during their health care encounters. This study seeks to find whether LEP patients face less favorable health care experiences than their non-LEP counterparts. Specifically, the study aims to examine the differences in health care utilization, access to health information, and satisfaction of health care services between LEP and non-LEP individuals. Based on previous use of LEP in health care literature, the limited English proficiency group in this study represents those whose primary household language is not English. The dataset used for this study was the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health. Linear and logistic regression results found that LEP patients are less likely to feel that their children’s doctors and providers listen to them carefully and they are also less likely to report that they feel their providers respect their customs and values compared to non-LEP patients. Additionally, LEP patients are less likely to receive the specific health information they need and they utilize health care services less often than their non-LEP counterparts. These findings lead to the conclusion that the need for culturally diverse and culturally competent care remains in order to improve the health care utilization and encounters for LEP populations.



Limited English proficiency, Immigrants, Health literacy, Health care satisfaction, Health care utilization, Power dynamics


Lemus, A. G. (2020). <i>Examining the relationship between English proficiency and health care experiences in the United States</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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