Self-reported health literacy and health information seeking among New York State residents
Methods: A cross-sectional telephone survey (landlines and cell phones) was developed to assess media and technology access, use patterns, health seeking information patterns, and preferences for receiving health information for a sample of New York adult residents (n=1,350). HL was assessed using the Morris Single-Item Screener, a self-report question. A weighted analysis was conducted utilizing Stata/SE.
Results: Self-reported HL did not predict digital technology usage (i.e., internet and smartphone use, text messaging). Those with lower self-reported HL were generally less likely to report using social networking sites (SNS) (p=.021) but more likely to report using SNS for health information (p=.002). Most importantly, those with lower self-reported HL also reported greater difficulty with their most recent search for health information. Further, they were more likely to prefer text messages (p=.006) and TV (p=.025), but less likely to prefer websites (p=.037), to receive health information from agencies and organizations.
Conclusions: While self-reported HL does not appear to influence access to and use of digital technologies, there does seem to be a strong association with experiences searching for health information. Simply disseminating information may not be enough, as the information may not be found and understood by those who need it the most.
Learning Areas:Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Identify the association between self-reported health literacy and digital technology use. Compare usage patterns and information preferences by self-reported health literacy. Discuss how self-reported health literacy is related to preferences for receiving health information from agencies and organizations.
Keyword(s): Health Literacy, Internet
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Associate Professor of public health who is a health communication scholar. I also study health literacy and health information seeking.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.