Using the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) with Providers in the Early Intervention Setting: A Qualitative Validity Testing Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 10;17(7):2603. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17072603.


More than one in four parents in the United States of America (USA) have low health literacy, which is associated with reduced health equity and negatively impacts child health outcomes. Early intervention (EI) programs are optimally placed to build the health literacy capacity of caregivers, which could improve health equity. The health literacy of interdisciplinary EI providers has not previously been measured. This study used the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) with EI providers (n = 10) to investigate evidence based on response (cognitive) processes. Narratives from cognitive interviews gave reasons for HLQ score choices, and concordance and discordance between HLQ item intent descriptions and narrative data were assessed using thematic analysis. Results found scales with highest concordance for Scales 3, 6, and 9 (each 96%, n = 24). Concordance was lowest on Scale 5 (88%, n = 22), although still strong with only 12% discordance. Three themes reflecting discordance were identified: (1) Differences between Australian and USA culture/health systems; (2) Healthcare provider perspective; and (3) Participants with no health problems to manage. Results show strong concordance between EI providers' narrative responses and item intents. Study results contribute validity evidence for the use of HLQ data to inform interventions that build health literacy capacity of EI providers to then empower and build the health literacy of EI parents.

Keywords: Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ); early intervention; health literacy; validity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Child
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Female
  • Health Literacy*
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult