Health literacy and health outcomes

Joanne Protheroe*, Michael S. Wolf, Albert Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


In this chapter, we examine the impact of low health literacy on health outcomes. We review the body of research that has been published internationally, noting that the majority of these studies are describing simply the various associations between adult literacy skills and health outcomes rather than causation. Specifically, lack of reading fluency and low levels of health vocabulary (i.e., low literacy as applied to health) have been linked to problems with the use of preventive services, delayed diagnoses, understanding of one's medical condition, adherence to medical instructions, self-management skills, physical and mental health, and increased mortality risk. We consider what this evidence may say about possible causal pathways between health literacy and health outcomes and, very briefly, discuss the potential for interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHealth Literacy in Context
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Perspectives
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781619429215
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Health literacy and health outcomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this