Health Literacy and Patient-Reported Outcomes: A Cross-Sectional Study of Underserved English-and Spanish-Speaking Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Elizabeth A Hahn*, James L. Burns, Elizabeth A. Jacobs, Pamela S. Ganschow, Sofia F Garcia, Joshua P. Rutsohn, David W. Baker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined associations between patient characteristics, health behaviors, and health outcomes and explored the role of health literacy as a potential mediator of outcomes. English-and Spanish-speaking adults with Type 2 diabetes used a bilingual multimedia touchscreen to complete questionnaires. The behavioral model for vulnerable populations guided multivariable regression and mediation testing. Dependent variables were diabetes self-care, health status, and satisfaction with communication. Independent variables included sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, health literacy, health beliefs, and self-efficacy. Spanish speakers had lower health literacy and poorer physical, mental, and overall health compared to English speakers. Higher health literacy was associated with less social support for diet, fewer diet and medication barriers, younger age, higher diabetes knowledge, and talking with health care professionals to get diabetes information. In contrast to expectations, health literacy was not associated with diabetes self-care, health status, or satisfaction with communication, and it did not mediate the effects of other factors on these outcomes. Diabetes self-efficacy was significantly associated with health behaviors and outcomes. The association between Spanish language preference and poorer health was not mediated by this group's lower health literacy. Increasing health-related self-efficacy might be an important clinical strategy for improving outcomes in underserved patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-15
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume20
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 9 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences

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