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Health literacy among fathers and fathers-to-be: a multi-country, cross-sectional survey.

journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-27, 05:13 authored by Karen Wynter, Vanessa WatkinsVanessa Watkins, Shane KavanaghShane Kavanagh, Sarah HoskingSarah Hosking, Bodil RasmussenBodil Rasmussen, Helle Terkildsen Maindal, Jacqui MacdonaldJacqui Macdonald
During pregnancy and early fatherhood, men are at higher risk of poor health, exacerbated by low engagement by healthcare services. Yet the transition to fatherhood presents an opportunity for men to improve their health and health behaviours. Health literacy refers to individuals' competence in accessing and applying health information. Poor health literacy is associated with poor health and low help-seeking. The aim of this study was to identify health literacy strengths, needs and profiles among fathers. Men who were expecting a baby ('antenatal') or had become fathers in the past 18 months ('postnatal') were recruited through an international, online paid survey platform. The survey included the nine-scale Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ). Of 889 survey respondents (n = 416, 46.5% antenatal; n = 473, 53.5% postnatal), 274 (31.0%) were residing in the USA and 239 (27.0%) in the UK. Relatively higher scores were reported for HLQ scales relating to having sufficient information and finding and understanding this information, as well as social support for health. Relatively lower scores were obtained for scales relating to actively managing one's own health and navigating the health care system. Three scale scores were significantly lower among nulliparous than multiparous men. Seven health literacy profiles were identified. In conclusion, while fathers have some health literacy strengths, they also experience some barriers, particularly first-time fathers. Awareness of diverse health literacy profiles among fathers may assist in developing strategies to strengthen health services' capacity to meet fathers' needs and reduce risks to their health at this critical juncture in families' lives.

History

Journal

Health Promotion International

Volume

38

Article number

daad131

Pagination

1-12

Location

Oxford, Eng.

ISSN

0957-4824

eISSN

1460-2245

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

5

Publisher

Oxford University Press