Online Program

Dimensions of cultural sensitivity and message tailoring

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 3:30 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Ted Singelis, PhD, Department of Psychology, California State University, Chico, Chico, CA
Although it is widely accepted that health communication should be “culturally appropriate” or “culturally sensitive,” little work has examined how oral health messages targeting Mexican Americans can be made more culturally sensitive. Making oral health messages culturally sensitive is a recent but promising innovation that has the potential to produce positive health benefits. The theoretical framework for the study includes two dimensions of cultural sensitivity: surface structure and deep structure. Surface structure concerns the observable characteristics of the message; the images and places should match those common to the target audience. Deep structure concerns cultural and social/psychological factors such as the Latino values of familismo and simpatía. Researchers began by surveying oral health messages and generating a list of children's oral health topics. Mexican American deep cultural values and beliefs were compiled from the literature and the community. Researchers also examined qualitative studies enumerating beliefs about children's oral health in the Mexican American community. These three sources were integrated to develop a culturally sensitive message which was then content analyzed and compared to a standard message similar to those available on-line. Results show the many specific ways the newly developed message is more culturally sensitive than messages for Spanish speakers currently available. While the effectiveness of the culturally sensitive message remains to be tested, it is possible to apply this cultural framework to other minorities and other health areas. This research is supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (Grant #1R15DE021873-01A1).

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Explain and illustrate theoretical dimensions of culture used to formulate culturally sensitive messages for Mexican American mothers. Design culturally sensitive health messages for any ethnic and/or cultural group.

Keyword(s): Health Promotion, Culture

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of multiple federally funded grants focusing on Mexican American health, Mexican American ageing, and oral health communication for Mexican American mothers. My scientific interests include culture, self-construal, intercultural communication, and health communication
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.