Patient activation and health literacy as predictors of health information use in a general sample of Dutch health care consumers

J Health Commun. 2014;19(8):955-69. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2013.837561. Epub 2014 Jan 8.


In demand-led health care systems, consumers are expected to play an informed, active role in health care decisions by making use of health information. The ability to seek and use this information depends on specific knowledge, skills, and self-confidence. In this study, the authors validated a translated instrument to measure patient activation (Dutch PAM-13) in a general sample of Dutch health care consumers. Furthermore, the authors examined the relative contribution of patient activation and functional health literacy to the seeking and use of health information in The Netherlands. The mean patient activation score in the Dutch sample was higher for younger health care consumers and for those with a higher education, higher income, and better self-reported general and mental health status. More activated consumers were more likely to seek and use health information. Patient activation proved to be a stronger predictor for seeking and using health information than functional health literacy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Consumer Health Information / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Literacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult