- LAST REVIEWED: 15 June 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0033
- LAST REVIEWED: 15 June 2015
- LAST MODIFIED: 23 February 2011
- DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756797-0033
Health literacy represents a new field of inquiry at the intersection of individuals’ literacy skills and health system demands with attention to health outcomes. Two strands of research contribute to the field of health literacy. The first has been primarily focused on assessments of health materials and the second on differential health outcomes among those who read well and those who do not. These two strands of research have become more interwoven in current research, supporting the importance of examining literacy within context. As a result, new initiatives bring attention to demands and expectations of multiple health contexts within which people make health decisions, take healthful action, and seek information and care. Attention is being paid to literacy-related barriers to access and care, to the communication exchange with attention to the skills of professionals as well as of the lay public, and to a range of literacy skills that include reading and writing, speaking and listening, and numeracy. This bibliography identifies sources pertaining to definition of terms, to key reports and texts reflecting the history and an overview of the field, sources related to measurement, sample studies and findings from the two core strands of research, and examples of new developments in health literacy research and implementation studies.
Five books are frequently listed on publicly shared syllabi. Two texts offer a broader focus on conceptual issues, background studies, research findings, and policy implications. The first, Nielsen-Bohlman, et al. 2004, is the text version of the report developed by the Institute of Medicine Committee on Health Literacy. It offers a comprehensive overview of the field as of 2004 and provides a rigorous delineation of policy implications and recommendations. The second, Zarcadoolas, et al. 2006 focuses on health literacy as a public health and policy issue. Additionally, Schwartzberg, et al. 2005 provides an anthology assembled and published by the American Medical Association, geared toward public health and medical school use. Doak, et al. 1996 and Osborne 2005 both provide handbooks geared toward practitioners with an emphasis on shaping health information for the public. Doak, et al. 1996 is an out-of-print classic that focuses on communication with people who have limited literacy skills, while Osborne 2005 offers a set of strategies for addressing literacy issues.
Doak, Cecilia Conrath, Leonard G. Doak, and Jane H. Root. 1996. Teaching patients with low literacy skills .2d ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott.
This classic text provides an overview of literacy, discussions of theory and teaching, and suggestions for testing skills and assessing and developing materials. The Suitability of Materials tool moves beyond readability measures for a more in-depth examination of factors that ease or inhibit reading and for rigorous formative research processes. Out of print but available online.
Nielsen-Bohlman, Lynn, Allison M. Panzer, and David A. Kindig, eds. 2004. Health literacy: A prescription to end confusion. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
This text offers a comprehensive look at what was, in 2002, a nascent field of inquiry. It offers an analysis of health literacy and of associated measures, identifies obstacles to creating a health literate public, assesses interventions to increase health literacy, and delineates needed action for research and policy.
Osborne, Helen. 2005. Health literacy from A to Z: Practical ways to communicate your health message. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
This handbook provides a practical guide to the field. It offers an overview of health literacy with plain language approaches to health communication, as well ideas and strategies for a wide variety of health practitioners.
Schwartzberg, Joanne G, Jonathan B. VanGeest, Claire C. Wang, Julie Gazmararian, Ruth Parker, Rima E. Rudd, Debra Roter, and Dean Schillinger, eds. 2005. Understanding health literacy: Implications for medicine and public health. Chicago: American Medical Association.
This anthology is composed of chapters edited and written by many of the early contributors to the field of health literacy and is proposed as a text for use in schools of medicine and public health. Sections focus attention on health care, the patient perspective, communication, and health-care delivery.
Zarcadoolas, Christina, Andrew Pleasant, and David S. Greer. 2006. Advancing health literacy: A framework for understanding and action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
The focus is on public health literacy—broadening the common association of health literacy with health-care services. Discussions of public health and scientific communications address issues of importance to community wellbeing. The case studies related to environmental health offer rich opportunities for in-depth analyses of health communication issues.
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- Access to Health Care
- Action Research
- Active Aging
- Active Living
- Adolescent Risk-Taking Behavior in the United States
- Advocacy, Public Health
- Agricultural Safety and Public Health
- Air Quality: Health Effects
- Air Quality: Indoor Health Effects
- Alcohol Availability and Violence
- Alternative Research Designs
- Ambient Air Quality Standards and Guidelines
- American Perspectives on Chronic Disease and Control
- Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)
- Asthma in Children
- Attachment as a Health Determinant
- Behavior Change Theory in Health Education and Promotion
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance
- Bicycling and Cycling Safety
- Birth and Death Registration
- Birth Cohort Studies
- Board of Health
- Built Environment and Health, The
- Business and Corporate Practices
- Cancer Communication Strategies in North America
- Cancer Prevention
- Cancer Screening
- Capacity Building
- Capacity Building for NCDs in LMICs
- Capacity-Building for Applied Public Health in LMIC: A US ...
- Cardiovascular Health and Disease
- Child Maltreatment
- Children, Air Pollution and
- Children, Injury Risk-Taking Behaviors in
- Children, Obesity in
- Citizen Advisory Boards
- Climate Change and Human Health
- Climate Change: Institutional Response
- Clinical Preventive Medicine
- Community Air Pollution
- Community Development
- Community Gardens
- Community Health Assessment
- Community Partnerships and Coalitions
- Community-Based Participatory Research
- Complexity and Systems Theory
- Definition of Health
- Dental Public Health
- Design and Health
- Dietary Guidelines
- Ecological Approaches
- Enabling Factors
- Environmental Laws
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Ethics of Public Health
- Evidence-Based Public Health Practice
- Family Planning Services and Birth Control
- Food Safety
- Food Security and Food Banks
- Food Systems
- Frail Elderly
- Functional Literacy
- Genomics, Public Health
- Geographic Information Systems
- Geography and Health
- Global Health
- Global Health Diplomacy
- Global Health Promotion
- Guide to Community Preventive Services, The
- Health Administration
- Health Communication
- Health Disparities
- Health Education
- Health Impact Assessment
- Health in All Policies
- Health in All Policies in European Countries
- Health Literacy
- Health Literacy and Non-Communicable Diseases
- Health Measurement Scales
- Health Planning
- Health Promoting Hospitals
- Health Promotion
- Health Promotion Workforce Capacity
- Healthy People Initiative
- Hepatitis C
- High Risk Prevention Strategies
- Human Rights, Health and
- Immigrant Populations
- Immunization and Pneumococcal Infection
- Indigenous Peoples, Public Health and
- Indigenous Populations of North America, Australasia, and ...
- Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
- Internet Applications in Promoting Health Behavior
- Intersectoral Strategies in Low - Middle Income Countries ...
- Justice, Social
- Knowledge Translation and Exchange
- Knowledge Utilization and Exchange
- Law of Public Health in the United States
- Media Advocacy
- Mental Health
- Mental Health Promotion
- Migrant Health
- Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention
- Multi-Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis
- National Association of Local Boards of Health
- National Public Health Institutions
- Needs Assessment
- Obesity Prevention
- Occupational Cancers
- Occupational Safety and Health
- Ottawa Charter
- Parenting and Work
- Parenting Skills and Capacity
- Participatory Action Research
- Patient Decision Making
- Pesticide Exposure and Pesticide Health Effects
- Physical Activity and Exercise
- Physical Activity Promotion
- Polio Eradication in Pakistan
- Population Aging
- Population Determinants of Unhealthy Foods and Beverages
- Population Health Objectives and Targets
- Precautionary Principle
- Prenatal Health
- Program Evaluation in American Health Education
- Program Planning and Evaluation
- Public Health, History of
- Public Health Surveillance
- Public-Private Partnerships in Public Health Research and ...
- Public-Private Partnerships to Prevent and Manage Obesity ...
- Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment
- Radiological and Nuclear Emergencies
- Randomized Controlled Trials
- Real World Evaluation Strategies
- Reducing Obesity-Related Health Disparities in Hispanic an...
- Rural Health in the United States
- Safety, Patient
- Sex Education in HIV/AIDS Prevention
- Skin Cancer Prevention
- Smoking Cessation
- Social Determinants of Health
- Social Epidemiology
- Social Marketing
- Statistics in Public Health
- Systems in the United States, Public Health
- Systems Theory in Public Health
- Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative M...
- Translation of Science to Practice and Policy
- Traumatic Stress and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
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- Unintentional Injury Prevention
- Urban Health
- Vaccine Hesitancy
- Violence Prevention
- Water Quality
- Water Quality and Water-Related Disease
- Weight Management in US Occupational Settings
- Worksite Health Promotion