The relationship of patient reading ability to self-reported health and use of health services

David W. Baker, Ruth M. Parker, Mark V. Williams, W. Scott Clark, Joanne Nurss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

510 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. This study examined the relationship of functional health literacy to self-reported health and use of health services. Methods. Patients presenting to two large, urban public hospitals in Atlanta, Ga, and Torrance, Calif, were administered a health literacy test about their overall health and use of health care services during the 3 months preceding their visit. Results. Patients with inadequate functional health literacy were more likely than patients with adequate literacy to report their health as poor. Number of years of school completed was less strongly associated with serf- reported health. Literacy was not related to regular source of care or physician visits, but patients in Atlanta with inadequate literacy were more likely than patients with adequate literacy to report a hospitalization in the previous year. Conclusions. Low literacy is strongly associated with self-reported poor health and is more closely associated with self-reported health than number of years of school completed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1030
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume87
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1997

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