Is diabetes-specific health literacy associated with diabetes-related outcomes in older adults?

TitleIs diabetes-specific health literacy associated with diabetes-related outcomes in older adults?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsYamashita, T, Kart, CS
JournalJ Diabetes
Date Published2011 Jun
ISSN Number1753-0407
KeywordsAdult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Blood Glucose, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Glycated Hemoglobin, Health Literacy, Humans, Logistic Models, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Self Care, Socioeconomic factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, United States

BACKGROUND:  The present study examined the association between a measure of diabetes-specific health literacy and three different Type 2 diabetes outcome indicators in a national sample of older adults.

METHODS: Data were taken from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) 2003 Diabetes module and the HRS 2002 core wave. Analysis was performed on data from 1318 respondents aged 42-96 years [mean (±SD) 67.96 ± 8.65 years] who submitted responses on all relevant independent variable measures along with an HbA1c test kit. The index of diabetes-specific health literacy was constructed from responses to 10 diabetes self-care regimen items (α = 0.927).

RESULTS: Using a multivariate regression strategy to analyze weighted data, the diabetes-specific health literacy index was significantly and positively associated with self-graded assessment of diabetes self-care (R2 = 0.231). However, diabetes-specific health literacy was not independently associated with the HbA1c level or the average number of days five recommended self-management behaviors were practiced each week.

CONCLUSIONS:  No previous single study has focused on the relationship between diabetes-specific health literacy and multiple diabetes-related outcomes. The direct association of diabetes-specific health literacy with patients' assessment of their self-care practice acumen is useful information for the design of effective patient intervention and/or communication strategies. Health literacy is a broad, multidimensional construct that bridges basic literacy skills and various health and illness contexts. Because it is so important to adults engaged in the self-management of chronic illness, indicators of disease-specific knowledge and/or understanding should be included in efforts to measure health literacy.


Yamashita, Takashi Kart, Cary S Australia Journal of diabetes J Diabetes. 2011 Jun;3(2):138-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-0407.2011.00112.x.

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Endnote Keywords

Aged, 80 and over/Blood Glucose/ metabolism/Blood Glucose/ metabolism/Diabetes Mellitus/Type 2 Diabetes/Health Literacy/Health Literacy/HbA1c/Logistic Models/Middle Aged/Multivariate Analysis/Self Care/methods/Self Care/methods/Socioeconomic Factors

Endnote ID


Alternate JournalJ Diabetes
Citation Key7645
PubMed ID21599867