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Am J Hosp Palliat Care. 2008 Aug-Sep;25(4):278-81. doi: 10.1177/1049909108315911. Epub 2008 May 7.

Are our investments paying off?: a study of reading level and bereavement materials.

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Department of Health, Physical Education and Sport Science, Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky, USA.


The purpose of this article is to discuss the findings of a study that examined bereavement materials for reading level. The main research question for the study was: are printed hospice bereavement materials written at an eighth grade level or below? Readability was determined for approximately 90 individual pieces of hospice bereavement literature. The literature came from materials that were collected in a larger study and included bereavement letters to families and other educational and resource materials available to the bereaved families, the caregivers, and the public. The method used to perform readability on the materials was the Simplified Measure of Gobbledygook. This process has been used to determine readability for more than 35 years and is widely accepted by the literacy community. Results of the study revealed that the materials analyzed were written at just above a 10th grade reading level.

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