Send to

Choose Destination
Health Soc Work. 2017 Aug 1;42(3):133-142. doi: 10.1093/hsw/hlx026.

Age Differences in Health Literacy: Do Younger Korean Adults Have a Higher Level of Health Literacy than Older Korean Adults?

Author information

College of Health and Welfare, Woosong University, Republic of South Korea. School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Department of Social Welfare, Ewha Womans University, Republic of South Korea.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the level of health literacy of adults living in South Korea and identify factors associated with health literacy in different age groups. Using a quota sampling method, authors recruited 1,000 Korean adults age 20 years and older. Health literacy was measured by using three items selected from a 16-question self-report health literacy measure. In accordance with Andersen's behavioral model, predisposing, enabling, and need factors were included in the multiple regression model. Age differences were found in health literacy levels; specifically, lower health literacy was associated with older age. For the 20 through 44-year age group, health literacy was positively associated with having private health insurance and higher self-rated health status. For the 45 through 64 and the 65 and over age groups, education was positively associated with health literacy. For the oldest age group, gender also had a positive association with health literacy. Lower levels of depression were significantly linked to a higher level of health literacy across all ages. This study illustrates ways to increase health literacy among different age groups and prioritizes target intervention groups in an effort to reduce health disparities.


Andersen's behavioral model; Korean adults; age differences; depression; health literacy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center