Screening everyday health information literacy among four populations

Health Info Libr J. 2020 Apr 3;e12304. doi: 10.1111/hir.12304. Online ahead of print.


Background: People face varying obstacles when interacting with health information in their everyday lives.

Objectives: This study aims to examine the applicability of a multidimensional Everyday Health Information Literacy (EHIL) screening tool in detecting people with challenges in accessing, understanding, evaluating and using health information in everyday situations.

Methods: Previously collected EHIL screening tool data from Finnish upper secondary school students (n = 217), Finnish young men (n = 1450), Finnish adults with an increased risk for metabolic syndrome (n = 559) and Namibian university students (n = 271) were reanalysed to examine the factorial structure of the tool and to compare the groups. Statistical analyses included exploratory factor analyses, calculation of mean factor scores and one-way analysis of variance.

Results: A three factor structure ('awareness', 'access', 'assessment') for the screening tool was supported based on the Finnish samples. However, the Namibian data did not follow a similar structure. Significant differences in groupwise factor scores were discovered.

Discussion: The findings suggest that the multidimensional EHIL screening tool can be used in pointing out areas where individuals or groups may need support.

Conclusion: The tool may be useful to health information and library services workers when counselling or educating the public.

Keywords: Africa, South; Europe, Northern; adolescents; adults; consumer health information; health literacy; higher education; information literacy.