Boudewyns Co-Authors Study of Health Literacy

Article Appears in Journal of Health Communication

Ph.D. student Vanessa Boudewyns is the co-author of a new study that appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Health Communication.

Abstract: Although there are a variety of models and frameworks that describe factors that are associated with health literacy skills, few illustrate the full pathway from development and moderators of health literacy skills, their application, and the outcomes that result all in one framework or model. This article introduces the Health Literacy Skills conceptual framework that does encompass this full continuum. To develop the framework, the authors reviewed and built upon existing health literacy frameworks. The Health Literacy Skills framework hypothesizes the relations between health literacy and health-related outcomes and depicts how health literacy functions at the level of the individual. The framework also reflects how factors external to the individual (e.g., family, setting, community, culture, and media) influence the constructs and relations represented in the framework. The framework is organized into 4 primary components: (a) factors that influence the development and use of health literacy skills; (b) health-related stimuli; (c) health literacy skills needed to comprehend the stimulus and perform the task; and (d) mediators between health literacy and health outcomes. Previous theoretical frameworks lend support to the proposed causal pathways it illustrates. The authors hope this conceptual framework can serve as a springboard for further discussion and advancement in operationalizing this complex construct. The Health Literacy Skills framework could also be used to guide the development of interventions to improve health literacy. Future research should be conducted to fully test the relations in the framework.

Citation: Squiers, L., Peinado, S., Berkman, N., Boudewyns, V., & McCormack, L. (2012). The health literacy skills framework. Journal of Health Communication, 17, 30-54.

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