Cultural relevance and equivalence in the NLAAS instrument: integrating etic and emic in the development of cross-cultural measures for a psychiatric epidemiology and services study of Latinos



This paper describes the development, translation and adaptation of measures in the National Latino and Asian American Study (NLAAS). We summarize the techniques used to attain cultural relevance; semantic, content and technical equivalency; and internal consistency of the measures across languages and Latino sub-ethnic groups. We also discuss some of the difficulties and challenges encountered in doing this work. The following three main goals are addressed in this paper: (1) attaining cultural relevance by formulating the research problem with attention to the fundamental cultural and contextual differences of Latinos and Asians as compared to the mainstream population; (2) developing cultural equivalence in the standardized instruments to be used with these populations; and (3) assessing the generalizability of the measures–i.e., that the measures do not fluctuate according to culture or translation. We present details of the processes and steps used to achieve these three goals in developing measures for the Latino population. Additionally, the integration of both the etic and emic perspectives in the instrument adaptation model is presented. Copyright © 2004 Whurr Publishers Ltd.