The impact of caregiver health literacy on healthcare outcomes for low income minority children with asthma

J Asthma. 2020 Dec;57(12):1316-1322. doi: 10.1080/02770903.2019.1648507. Epub 2019 Aug 8.


Objectives: The aim of this exploratory study was to assess the impact of caregiver health literacy (HL) on health care outcomes for their child with asthma.Methods: Caregiver dyads across two different healthcare delivery systems completed a battery of validated asthma outcome instruments, including the Newest Vital Sign™ as a measure of HL for the caregivers of children ages 7-18 y. Utilization history was obtained through the electronic medical record. Descriptive analysis with bivariate associations was conducted.Results: There was no direct relationship between HL and asthma outcomes in the 34 Hispanic and African American caregiver-child dyads. However, caregiver health literacy was significantly related to language (p = 0.02). African American English-speaking caregivers, seen in an urban emergency department, demonstrated adequate health literacy. Hispanic Spanish-speaking caregivers, seeking care in a mobile asthma van, showed limited health literacy. There was no significant association between caregivers' HL and routine asthma care visits when language and child age were controlled.Conclusions: Assessing patient factors can identify persons at risk who need additional support to negotiate the healthcare system when providing care for a child with asthma.

Keywords: Health literacy; asthma; caregivers; children; health care utilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Caregivers / education
  • Caregivers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Literacy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Poverty / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents