Factors influencing low prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities among US Hispanic/Latino children

Sarah Garcia, Jennifer A Hall-Lande, Kelly Nye-Lengerman PhD


Objectives: Hispanic/Latino (H/L) children have lower prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities (NDD) than other groups. The explanations for this are complex, but may be related to nativity, language barriers, and lack of access to and utilization of healthcare. Previous research focused on how these factors affect children with NDD, but little research has jointly examined whether these factors predict NDD. This study examines whether social and environmental factors explain low prevalence of NDD in this population.

Methods: This study uses nationally representative Integrated Public Use Microdata Series National Health Interview Survey data (N = 200,622) and multivariate logistic regression analysis to compare NDD prevalence in white and H/L children (average age of 10.2), and examines whether nativity, healthcare access, healthcare utilization, and language barriers explain this disability disparity.

Results: Findings reveal that the H/L NDD disparity is not explained by differences in access to or utilization of healthcare, or as a result of language differences that may create barriers to NDD diagnosis. While H/L children whose sampled adult was born in the USA have lower rates of NDD than whites, H/Ls whose sampled adult were not born in the USA have even lower probability of NDD than H/Ls who were born in the USA.

Conclusions: These findings may be a result of cultural differences in knowledge or understanding of what constitutes a disability or the result of differential treatment within the healthcare system among H/Ls. The findings underscore the importance of accessible and culturally appropriate health and clinical care interventions among H/L communities.

Suggested Citation

Garcia, S., Hall-Lande, J., & Nye-Lengerman, K. (2019). Factors influencing low prevalence of neurodevelopmental disabilities among Hispanic/Latino children. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 6(6), 1107–1121. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40615-019-00613-9


Peer-Reviewed Article 
Springer Link/Springer Nature