Up to a quarter of the Australian population may have suboptimal health literacy depending upon the measurement tool : results from a population-based survey

Barber, Melissa, Staples, Margaret, Osborne, Richard, Clerehan, Rosemary, Elder, Catherine and Buchbinder, Rachelle 2009, Up to a quarter of the Australian population may have suboptimal health literacy depending upon the measurement tool : results from a population-based survey, Health promotion international, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 252-261.

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Title Up to a quarter of the Australian population may have suboptimal health literacy depending upon the measurement tool : results from a population-based survey
Author(s) Barber, Melissa
Staples, Margaret
Osborne, Richard
Clerehan, Rosemary
Elder, Catherine
Buchbinder, Rachelle
Journal name Health promotion international
Volume number 24
Issue number 3
Start page 252
End page 261
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2009-09
ISSN 0957-4824
1460-2245
Summary The objective of this paper is to measure health literacy in a representative sample of the Australian general population using three health literacy tools; to consider the congruency of results; and to determine whether these assessments were associated with socio-demographic characteristics. Face-to-face interviews were conducted in a stratified random sample of the adult Victorian population identified from the 2004 Australian Government Electoral Roll. Participants were invited to participate by mail and follow-up telephone call. Health literacy was measured using the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM), Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) and Newest Vital Sign (NVS). Of 1680 people invited to participate, 89 (5.3%) were ineligible, 750 (44.6%) were not contactable by phone, 531 (32%) refused and 310 (response rate 310/1591, 19.5%) agreed to participate. Compared with the general population, participants were slightly older, better educated and had a higher annual income. The proportion of participants with less than adequate health literacy levels varied: 26.0% (80/308) for the NVS, 10.6% (51 33/310) for the REALM and 6.8% (21/309) for the TOFHLA. A varying but significant proportion of the general population was found to have limited health literacy. The health literacy measures we used, while moderately correlated, appear to measure different but related constructs and use different cut offs to indicate poor health literacy.
Language eng
Field of Research 111712 Health Promotion
Socio Economic Objective 920205 Health Education and Promotion
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, Oxford University Press
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30024845

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Public Health Research, Evaluation, and Policy Cluster
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