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A life course approach to health literacy: The role of gender, educational attainment, and lifetime cognitive capability

Clouston, S; Manganello, JA; Richards, M; (2017) A life course approach to health literacy: The role of gender, educational attainment, and lifetime cognitive capability. Age and Ageing , 46 (3) pp. 493-499. 10.1093/ageing/afw229. Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Social inequalities in health are believed to arise in part because individuals make use of social and economic resources in order to improve survival. In recent years, health literacy has received increased attention as a factor that can help explain differences in health outcomes. However, examination of life course predictors of health literacy has been limited. METHODS: Life course data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study 1957-2011 were used to examine predictors of health literacy in old age (N=2,122), using the Newest Vital Sign. Generalized structural equation modeling was used to model pathways to health literacy. RESULTS: Predictors of health literacy included educational attainment, and adolescent cognitive and non-cognitive skills, and, in men, rate of cognitive decline from middle to later life. DISCUSSION: Numerous studies have documented health literacy issues among older adults, and recommendations have been made for ways to improve health literacy for this population. This study reports on risk factors across the life course that are associated with health literacy later in life, identifying possible intervention targets to reduce risk of poor health as people age. Our results suggest that a range of life course factors, beginning in early life, predict health literacy. Further research studying health literacy over the life course is warranted

Type: Article
Title: A life course approach to health literacy: The role of gender, educational attainment, and lifetime cognitive capability
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/ageing/afw229
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afw229
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited.
Keywords: Health Literacy, Life course epidemiology, Social inequalities in health, Cognitive epidemiology, Psychology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1528794
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