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Measuring health literacy in caregivers of children: a comparison of the newest vital sign and S-TOFHLA.

Morrison AK, Schapira MM, Hoffmann RG, Brousseau DC. Measuring health literacy in caregivers of children: a comparison of the newest vital sign and S-TOFHLA. Clinical Pediatrics. 2014 Nov 1; 53(13):1264-70.

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OBJECTIVE: We examined the performance of the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) and the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA) in caregivers of children. METHOD: Caregivers of children = 12 years old seeking care for their child in a pediatric emergency department (ED) were tested using the NVS and the S-TOFHLA to measure health literacy. The results were compared with ED use outcomes. RESULT: The S-TOFHLA was found to have a ceiling effect as compared to the NVS; few caregivers scored in low literacy categories (P < .0001). This finding was demonstrated in both lower (P = .01) and higher (P < .001) educational attainment groups. The NVS was predictive of ED use outcomes (P = .02 and P < .01) whereas the S-TOFHLA was not (P = .21 and P = .11). CONCLUSIONS: The measures do not seem to function similarly nor predict health outcomes equally. The NVS demonstrates sensitivity in identifying limited health literacy in younger adult populations.

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