A cross-sectional health literacy profile of Australian regional adults using the Health Literacy Questionnaire©

Bonnie Beasant, Andrew Sanigorski, Nic Brayshaw, Vanessa Vaughan, Mojtaba Lotfaliany, Scott McCoombe, Monica Tembo, Sarah Hosking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Health literacy is the resources and abilities required to make and enact health decisions. This study aimed to describe the health literacy of a diverse cross-section of adults in regional Victoria.

METHODS: Participants were recruited from two primary care clinics differing in socioeconomic scope and through non-clinical recruitment via the town's largest football club. Health Literacy Questionnaire© measured nine distinct scales, and comprehensive demographic data were also collected. Effect-sizes and regression were used for health literacy comparison between groups.

RESULTS: In this sample of 351 adults, health literacy strengths were observed in Scale 1: 'Feeling understood and supported by healthcare providers' (mean 3.29/4 ±0.5) and Scale 9: 'Understanding health information well enough to know what to do' (mean 4.10/5 ±0.6). Challenging areas were Scale 5: 'Appraising health information' (mean 2.88/4 ±0.5) and Scale 7: 'Navigating the healthcare system' (mean 3.84/5 ±0.6). After adjustment, living alone predicted lower scores across most scales.

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed greater health literacy barriers experienced by certain groups, particularly those who live alone and those who weren't clinically recruited.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH: These findings have implications for further research into addressing health literacy barriers in marginalised individuals and non-clinical settings. Results from this study may inform interventions which address identified barriers.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100009
Pages (from-to)100009
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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