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Parents with limited English proficiency might rely on their adolescent children to interpret health information. We call this adolescent healthcare brokering. Using a mixed-methods, transformative research approach rooted in grounded theory, we sought to answer these questions: (a) “What is happening? What are people doing?” and (b) “What do these stories indicate? What might they suggest about social justice?” High school students from a community in which 53.4% speak another language at home were invited to participate in a survey and focus groups. Of 238 survey participants, 57.5% (n=137) indicated they assisted with healthcare tasks. When doing so, 81.7% (n=112) translated. Common tasks were reading prescriptions and talking to doctors. While some participants cited negative emotions associated with brokering, the net emotion was positive. Focus groups (n=11) revealed that tasks varied broadly in complexity and type, emotional experiences were dichotomous, and access to interpreting services and other supports was inconsistent.


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Banas, J. R., Ball, J. W., Wallis, L. C., & Gershon, S. (2017). The adolescent health care broker — adolescents interpreting for family members and themselves in health care. Journal of Community Health, 42(4), 739 -747. doi: 10.1007/s10900-016-0312-5


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Journal of Community Health

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