Biomedical Research

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Assessing health literacy, the factors affecting it and their relation to some health behaviors among adults

Introduction: Health literacy is an important factor in promotion of health and patient empowerment. This study aims at determining the health literacy levels and influencing factors in 20 to 64 years old individuals, registered to Family Health Centers in Edirne city center.

Materials and Methods: The study sample was comprised of 285 individuals, who were aged between 20 and 64 years and registered to 17 out of 20 Family Health Centers in Edirne city center. The participants completed a survey on their socio-demographic data as well as an Adult Health Literacy Measure including 23 questions. Descriptive statistics, Spearman correlation analysis, Mann-Whitney U, and Kruskall-Wallis H tests were used in analysing the results. A multivariate linear regression model was used to examine the independent effects of different predictors on health literacy.

Results: Participants were 143 females (50.2%) and 142 males (49.8%). Their average age was 39.42 years. Their mean of Adult Health Literacy Measure scores was 13.26 where female participants had higher mean scores. The mean score for health literacy increased with an increase in education level, number of books read in a year, number of days reading a newspaper weekly and monthly household income. The findings of regression analysis indicated that male gender had 0.975 unit of negative effect on health literacy and decreased health literacy level. Being married and having university education had 1.079 and 1.445 units of positive effect respectively on health literacy thereby increasing its level. An increase of 1 unit in the number of days for reading a newspaper weekly led to a 0.241 unit of increase in health literacy.

Conclusion: The mean score for health literacy which was calculated on a scale of 23, was 13.26 and it should be increased. The analysis indicated that education was the most important predictor.

Author(s): Ayse Caylan, Kamil Yayla, Serdar Oztora, Hamdi Nezih Dagdeviren