The Impact of the Year of Birth Related to Health Literacy

Student Author(s)

Domenique Tamminga

Faculty Mentor(s)

Susanne Brooks, MSN, RN AOCNS, ACCNS-AG1 and Donna Garrett, MSN, RN2 (1Spectrum Health and 2Hope College Department of Nursing)

Document Type


Event Date



It is estimated that more than a third of American adults do not have adequate health literacy to undertake and execute needed medical treatments and preventive health care. Health literacy has been shown to impact readmission rates, be associated with health knowledge, behavior, outcomes, as well as a financial impact. The purpose of this study is to determine the correlation between age and health literacy scores. The Health Literacy Framework shows literacy as the foundation and health literacy acts as the mediator between individuals and health contexts. This is a prospective-correlational study design on comparing health literacy rates to the age of the patient. Data were collected by patient interviews and completion of the short test of functional health literacy in adults and the new vital signs test. The sample size is 159 and consists of patients over the age of 18, English speaking, and able to consent. This study takes place at two hospital settings, on medical-surgical floors, in West Michigan. This nursing study will use a two-tailed t-test on IBM SPSS software 19. The results of this study showed an increase in age was associated with a decrease in health literacy supported by a significance of p<0.01. Limitations of this study include only having representation of patients from West Michigan, and only patients who were willing to contribute. Implications for the future include developing interventions to nursing practice to help increase the knowledge of health illiteracy among patients.

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