Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH) validation work

The Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH; Marín et al. 1987), allows researchers to quickly and reliably identify the acculturation level of Hispanic respondents. The original scale included 12 items with three subscales: language use, media, and ethnic social relations. The scale authors also endorse a shortened four-item version that does not compromise predictive value, validity, or reliability. Responses to all items are given on a five-point bipolar scale where 1 is “Only Spanish” and 5 is “Only English”, with a midpoint (3) of “Both equally”. To score the SASH, one must calculate the average rating across all answered items. An average of 2.99 is the recommended cut point – scores above this point represent higher levels of acculturation and scores below this point represent lower levels of acculturation.

Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH) - English
Short Acculturation Scale for Hispanics (SASH) - Spanish

Validation work

We validated the shortened four-item SASH in a large sample of breast cancer patients. We sampled incident breast cancer cases from the Los Angeles Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Registry via Rapid Case Ascertainment in 2005-2006, with oversampling of Latinas and African Americans. Patients were mailed a survey and $10 incentive approximately 6 months after diagnosis. 1,698 cases were selected and 1,223 participated, for a response rate of 72% which varied little by race/ethnicity. A total of 601 Hispanic women completed the survey; 300 completed the English version and 301 completed the Spanish version. 565 of these women self-identified as Latina based on their survey response.

Given the ordinal nature of the SASH, we constructed a polychoric correlation matrix, which showed very high interitem correlations (all >.94). The factor analysis of the polychoric correlation matrix showed one dominant factor with very high loadings and uniqueness components of less than .07 for all items.

We calculated a SASH summary score by averaging responses from the individual items. Analysis using a non-parametric multilevel ordinal factor model showed that the summary scale values fell into a bimodal pattern separating the population into two groups that spoke predominantly either English or Spanish. The recommended cutoff by Marín (2.99) discriminated less acculturated from more acculturated Latinas; however, about half of the respondents in our sample (53.8%) had average scores of 4 or higher on the five point scale and therefore we used 4.0 as the cutoff for our subsequent analyses.

We validated the SASH score categories by examining the distribution of other variables that may be likely to be related to acculturation, including education and literacy level, country of origin, number of years in the US, and whether the respondent’s parents were born in the US. Respondents in score ranges of 4 or more (strongly preferring Spanish) reported the lowest levels of education, being US born, and having either parent born in the USA. By contrast, respondents with scores below 3 (strongly preferring English) reported much higher levels of education, being US born, and having one or more parents born in the USA.

In any discussions about our validation of the SASH, please use the following reference:

Hamilton AS, Hofer TP, Hawley ST, Morrell D, Leventhal M, Deapen D, Salem B, Katz SJ. Latinas and breast cancer outcomes: population-based sampling, ethnic identity, and acculturation assessment. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2009;18(7):2022-9.

To cite the original SASH:

Marín G, Sabogal F, VanOss Marín B, Otero-Sabogal F, Pérez-Stable EJ. Development of a short acculturation scale for Hispanics. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. 1987;9:183–205.