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Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Jun;75(3):411-7. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2009.03.031. Epub 2009 Apr 28.

Health literacy and physical and psychological wellbeing in Japanese adults.

Author information

1
Center for Clinical Epidemiology, St Luke's Life Science Institute, St Luke's International Hospital, Tokyo, Japan. tokuyasu@orange.ocn.ne.jp

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the prevalence of low health literacy and investigate the relationship between low health literacy and physical and psychological wellbeing in the Japanese general population.

METHODS:

A web-based cross-sectional survey was conducted in a national sample of Japanese adults. Health literacy was measured by self-report using the validated single-item screening question, "How confident are you filling out forms by yourself?" Wellbeing was measured with the physical and psychological domains of the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment-BREF. Effect sizes were computed by dividing the mean difference in scores by the standard deviation of the scores of all participants.

RESULTS:

In 1040 adult enrollees (mean age, 57-year-old; women, 52%), there were 161 (15.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 13.3-17.7%) with low health literacy. Individuals with low health literacy reported lower physical wellbeing (60.6 vs. 71.7, p<0.001) and psychological wellbeing (59.7 vs. 68.3, p<0.001) compared with those with adequate health literacy. After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, health risk behaviors and chronic conditions, these differences were still significant (physical wellbeing, p<0.001; psychological wellbeing, p<0.001). The effect sizes of the difference of scores were moderate for physical wellbeing (-0.55) and also for psychological wellbeing (-0.44).

CONCLUSION:

The prevalence of self-reported low health literacy in Japanese adults is substantial and it is independently associated with poorer physical and mental wellbeing.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

Efforts to monitor health literacy and to evaluate causal pathways to poor wellbeing should be encouraged in the Japanese population.

PMID:
19403259
DOI:
10.1016/j.pec.2009.03.031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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