Purpose – A systematic review of literature was conducted to compile, analyse and describe the methodology and measurement of childhood/adolescent health literacy. Design/methodology/approach – Six online databases (ERIC, PubMed, CINAHL, Biomed Central, Web of Science and Sports Discuss) were systematically searched to identify English language, peer‐reviewed articles, published between 1980 and April 2011, which reported on the measurement of health literacy in a population under the age of 18. The search identified 16 articles to be included in the final review, from which, data were systematically extracted in order to answer four review questions concerning several aspects of the method and effectiveness of the completed studies. Findings – The majority ( n =13) of the studies described the use of newly developed measurement tools and enquiry methods. The majority ( n =14) assessed health literacy via task performance as opposed to examining self‐reported health literacy. Thirteen health topics and nine distinct components of health literacy were identified as being scrutinised by the 16 articles. Examination of the intended measurement aims of each study, in comparison with the actual measurement methods revealed that six studies fully succeeded in examining what they intended to measure. It is concluded that even though research in this field is escalating, clear definitions and measurement methods of childhood health literacy must be developed in order to effectively expand the field further and comprehensively assess childhood health literacy. Originality/value – This review is to our knowledge the first to collate and examine studies concentrating solely on the measurement of health literacy in a child and/or adolescent population.
Health Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 23, 2013
Keywords: Health literacy; Children; Adolescents; Measurement; Systematic review
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