Demographic and psychosocial factors associated with limited health literacy in a community-based sample of older Black Americans

Stacy N. Davis, Jonathan W. Wischhusen, Steven K. Sutton, Shannon M. Christy, Enmanuel A. Chavarria, Megan E. Sutter, Siddhartha Roy, Cathy D. Meade, Clement K. Gwede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-391
Number of pages7
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Volume103
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Cancer prevention and screening
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Health literacy

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