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AIDS Educ Prev. 1996 Aug;8(4):323-34.

Assessing reading level of drug users for HIV and AIDS prevention purposes.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Alaska at Anchorage, Anchorage 99508, USA.


Using the short form of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised and the reading subtest of the Wide Range Achievement Test-Revised, the reading abilities of 284 male and 128 female drug users from five sites across the United States were evaluated. All subjects were participants in a National Institute on Drug Abuse HIV/AIDS prevention project aimed at intravenous drug users and cocaine smokers. Results revealed differences in reading abilities among ethnic groups with Native and white subjects having significantly higher reading levels than Hispanic and black subjects. Significant site differences were revealed, with mean grade equivalent scores ranging from 2.7 to 10.1 grades. Across all subjects, the average grade equivalent reading level was 5.8 to 7.7, indicating that the subjects read below the level of 81.5% to 93% of the general population. We provide implications for development of educational materials that are accessible for this population.

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