An evaluation of pediatric dental patient education materials using contemporary health literacy measures

Pediatr Dent. Sep-Oct 2005;27(5):409-13.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the appropriateness of nationally available dental information materials according to the suitability assessment of materials (SAM) method.

Methods: Clinically related, professionally produced patient dental health education materials (N=22) provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) were evaluated using the SAM method that had previously been judged valid and reliable. A rater was trained by an experienced health literacy evaluator to establish validity. The rater then rated all materials for 5 categories of assessment (content, literacy demand, graphics, layout and typography, and learning stimulation/motivation) and an overall assessment, and repeated 5 materials to establish intrarater reliability.

Results: When compared to the experienced rater, the validity was K=0.43. The reliability was established for all ratings as K=0.52. The consistently weakest categories were content, graphics, and learning stimulation, while reading level as part of literacy demand was often not suitable. The overall suitability of the AAPD materials was generally classified as superior.

Conclusions: Reliable and valid evaluation of available dental patient information materials can be accomplished. The materials were largely superior. There is great variability within the categories of evaluation. The categories of content, graphics, and learning stimulation require attention and could raise the overall quality of the materials.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Educational Status
  • Health Education, Dental / methods*
  • Humans
  • Observer Variation
  • Pamphlets*
  • Reproducibility of Results