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Patient Educ Couns. 2015 Jul 29. pii: S0738-3991(15)30021-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2015.07.013. [Epub ahead of print]

State of the science of health literacy measures: Validity implications for minority populations.

Author information

1
School of Nursing, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, USA. Electronic address: tam.nguyen@bc.edu.
2
Department of Nursing, Towson University, Towson, USA.
3
School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.
4
School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.
5
Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Boston, USA.
6
Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, James A. Haley VA Hospital, Tampa, USA; Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA.
7
School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To review the evidence supporting the validity of health literacy (HL) measures for ethnic minority populations.

METHODS:

PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO databases were searched for HL measures between 1965 and 2013.

RESULTS:

A total of 109HL measures were identified; 37 were non-English HL measures and 72 were English language measures. Of the 72 English language measures, 17 did not specify the racial/ethnic characteristic of their sample. Of the remaining 55 measures, 10 (18%) did not include blacks, 30 (55%) did not include Hispanics, and 35 (64%) did not include Asians in their validation sample. When Hispanic and Asian Americans were included, they accounted for small percentages in the overall sample. Between 2005-2013, a growing number of REALM and TOFHLA translations were identified, and new HL measures for specific cultural/linguistic groups within and outside the United States were developed.

CONCLUSIONS:

While there are a growing number of new and translated HL measures for minority populations, many existing HL measures have not been properly validated for minority groups.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS:

HL measures that have not been properly validated for a given population should be piloted before wider use. In addition, improving HL instrument development/validation methods are imperative to increase the validity of these measures for minority populations.

KEYWORDS:

Health Literacy; Minority Health; Psychometric; Review

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