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Development of a Health Literacy Scale for Chinese-Speaking Adults in Taiwan

Authors: Frank C. Pan, Che-Long Su, Ching-Hsuen Chen


Background, measuring an individual-s Health Literacy is gaining attention, yet no appropriate instrument is available in Taiwan. Measurement tools that were developed and used in western countries may not be appropriate for use in Taiwan due to a different language system. Purpose of this research was to develop a Health Literacy measurement instrument specific for Taiwan adults. Methods, several experts of clinic physicians; healthcare administrators and scholars identified 125 common used health related Chinese phrases from major medical knowledge sources that easy accessible to the public. A five-point Likert scale is used to measure the understanding level of the target population. Such measurement is then used to compare with the correctness of their answers to a health knowledge test for validation. Samples, samples under study were purposefully taken from four groups of people in the northern Pingtung, OPD patients, university students, community residents, and casual visitors to the central park. A set of health knowledge index with 10 questions is used to screen those false responses. A sample size of 686 valid cases out of 776 was then included to construct this scale. An independent t-test was used to examine each individual phrase. The phrases with the highest significance are then identified and retained to compose this scale. Result, a Taiwan Health Literacy Scale (THLS) was finalized with 66 health-related phrases under nine divisions. Cronbach-s alpha of each division is at a satisfactory level of 89% and above. Conclusions, factors significantly differentiate the levels of health literacy are education, female gender, age, family members of stroke victims, experience with patient care, and healthcare professionals in the initial application in this study..

Keywords: health literacy, REALM, THLS, health knowledge

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