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Eval Program Plann. 2017 Feb;60:245-253. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2016.10.007. Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Concept mapping as an approach for expert-guided model building: The example of health literacy.

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Institut für Psychologie, Universität Hildesheim, Universitätsplatz 1, D-31141 Hildesheim, Germany. Electronic address:
Blarerstraße 56, D-78464 Konstanz, Germany. Electronic address:
Institut für Psychologie, Universität Bonn, Kaiser-Karl-Ring 9, D-53111 Bonn, Germany. Electronic address:


Concept mapping served as the starting point for the aim of capturing the comprehensive structure of the construct of 'health literacy.' Ideas about health literacy were generated by 99 experts and resulted in 105 statements that were subsequently organized by 27 experts in an unstructured card sorting. Multidimensional scaling was applied to the sorting data and a two and three-dimensional solution was computed. The three dimensional solution was used in subsequent cluster analysis and resulted in a concept map of nine "clusters": (1) self-regulation, (2) self-perception, (3) proactive approach to health, (4) basic literacy and numeracy skills, (5) information appraisal, (6) information search, (7) health care system knowledge and acting, (8) communication and cooperation, and (9) beneficial personality traits. Subsequently, this concept map served as a starting point for developing a "qualitative" structural model of health literacy and a questionnaire for the measurement of health literacy. On the basis of questionnaire data, a "quantitative" structural model was created by first applying exploratory factor analyses (EFA) and then cross-validating the model with confirmatory factor analyses (CFA). Concept mapping proved to be a highly valuable tool for the process of model building up to translational research in the "real world".


Health literacy; Model building; Structural equation modeling

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