Health literacy skills of U.S. adults

Am J Health Behav. 2007 Sep-Oct:31 Suppl 1:S8-18. doi: 10.5555/ajhb.2007.31.supp.S8.


Objectives: To examine adults' literacy proficiencies in multiple health contexts.

Methods: One hundred ninety-one (191) health-related items drawn from all large-scale adult literacy surveys before 2003 were scored as an independent health literacy scale. Latent class analyses provide portraits of adults with different health literacy skills.

Results: Adults without a high school diploma or GED, with health-related restrictions, with limited access to resources, who are members of minority population groups, and who are immigrants - have lower health literacy skills than do others.

Conclusions: The distribution of health literacy is not independent of general literacy skills at population or subpopulation levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics
  • Publishing
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States