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Measuring health literacy: the Swedish Functional Health Literacy scale
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Socialmedicinsk epidemiologi)
Göteborgs Universitet. (Sektionen för arbetsterapi och fysioterapi)
2015 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, ISSN 0283-9318, E-ISSN 1471-6712, Vol. 29, no 1, 165-172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


The benefits of health promotions efforts vary due to a complexity of reasons. One possible reason for absence of effects is the level of functional health literacy among the individuals that participate in the interventions. Thus valid and reliable instruments that capture these kinds of skills are needed. The aim of this study was to develop a Swedish Functional Health Literacy scale to use in health promotion and health prevention by translating the Japanese Functional Health Literacy scale into Swedish and testing some aspects of its validity and test-retest reliability.

Methods: The research project comprised six phases including translation and back-translation, validity tests on the two first versions of the instrument based on interviews of professionals and representatives for the target group of the instrument, and a test-retest of the first version on target groups.  

Results: The items in the first two versions were experienced as unclear, which led to improvements of the next version.  The final version of the translated instrument (The Swedish Functional Literacy scale) showed evidence of content validity and the test- retest confirmed that instrument had stability over time with a percentage agreements for the items ranging from 63% to 92% (M = 77,2%).  

Conclusion: The items in the Swedish version of the scale is equivalent to the original Japanese scale in terms of language and content and covers the major aspects of functional health literacy as it is defined in the literature. The translated instrument shows stability over time, i.e. reliability, at least for a part of the Swedish population. More validity tests of the Swedish Functional Health Literacy scale based on a broader population are needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 29, no 1, 165-172 p.
Keyword [en]
health literacy, health promotion, health education, prevention, measurement
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Social Medicine
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-228393DOI: 10.1111/scs.12125ISI: 000350285500017PubMedID: 24628048OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-228393DiVA: diva2:733832
Available from: 2014-07-11 Created: 2014-07-11 Last updated: 2016-04-19

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Wångdahl, Josefin
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