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Health Literacy, Measurement of

  • By: Kenzie A. Cameron
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Health literacy is most commonly defined 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. However, multiple definitions of health literacy exist; the measurement of health literacy is similarly varied. Most health literacy measurements may be more appropriately identified as proxies rather than “true” measurements; measurement is largely dependent on the identified definition of health literacy, the intended use of the results of the assessment, and the specific goals of the study. The choice of measurement for health literacy often is, and indeed should be, closely tied to the specific objective under study: if health literacy is meant to be a descriptive element, a shorter measure may suffice; if ...

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