Health Literacy

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) defines health literacy as the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. To put it differently, health literacy refers to how savvy a person is in taking care of health issues. The IOM definition is widely adopted in health literacy literature. Health literacy construct is an integral part of health communication research, in particular with regard to doctor–patient communication studies. This entry examines measurement issues in health literacy, specifically focusing on individual- versus organizational-level constructs, general versus disease-specific instruments, and continuous versus categorical variables. Examples from two related cancer health literacy tests, the CHLT-30 and CHLT-6, are then presented to illustrate ways ...

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