Objectives: Individuals with limited health literacy often experience suboptimal health outcomes. This study examined the frequency of limited health literacy and demographic and psychosocial factors associated with limited health literacy in a sample of older Black Americans. Methods: Participants (n = 330) enrolled in a community-based intervention to promote colorectal cancer (CRC) screening completed baseline surveys assessing health literacy with the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine, Revised (REALM-R) test, CRC awareness, cancer fatalism, Preventive Health Model (PHM) constructs, and demographics. Results: Approximately 52% of participants had limited health literacy, the REALM-R score was 5.4 (SD = 2.7). Univariable correlates of limited health literacy were gender, employment, income, prior screening, cancer fatalism, CRC awareness, and PHM constructs (religious beliefs, salience/coherence, perceived susceptibility). Multivariable correlates of limited health literacy were male gender (OR = 2.3, CI = 1.4–3.8), unable to work (OR = 2.8, CI = 1.3–6.1), lower household income (OR = 3.0, CI = 1.6, 5.5), and higher PHM religious beliefs (OR = 1.1, CI = 1.0–1.2). Conclusion: Limited health literacy was associated with multiple complex factors. Interventions should incorporate patient health literacy and low-literacy materials that can be delivered through multiple channels. Practice implications: Future studies are needed to understand the role of health literacy in an individual's health behavior and the provision of effective healthcare.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- African Americans
- Cancer prevention and screening
- Colorectal cancer
- Health literacy