Public Health and Healthcare

Health Literacy in Older Korean Adults and Disability Severity Relationship

Author(s): Young Sun Kim, Hee Yun Lee, Kyungin Park, Byung Hyun Park, Anne Zhou

Background: While previous research support that individual’s health status influence health literacy levels as the level of understanding of health information correlates with the ability to manage one’s health status, there has been limited research investigating the relationship between health literacy and disabilities among older adults. To close the research gap, this study aimed to investigate (1) the level of health literacy and (2) factors associated with it among older Korean adults with disability. 
Methods: A sample of 212 older adults aged 60 and over with disabilities was recruited using a convenience sampling strategy in Busan, South Korea. Health literacy was measured using Chew et al.’s 16-item self-report measure. Andersen’s behavioral model was used as the theoretical framework. 
Results: Overall, participants reported low levels of health literacy. The participants’ level of education and income were positively associated with health literacy levels, while disability and depression severity levels were negatively associated with health literacy.
Conclusions: Our findings indicate that educational interventions to increase the health literacy are needed and should target those with a higher level of disability and depression, as well as a lower level of income in order to achieve health equity and justice among older adults with disabilities in South Korea.

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