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Functional and complex health literacy levels among refugees in Sweden; and examination of socio-demographic and health related factors associated with inadequate health literacy
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences. (Socialmedicinsk epidemiologi)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Social Medicine. (Socialmedicinsk epidemiologi)
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Social Medicine. (Socialmedicinsk epidemiologi)
2014 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Worldwide there are more than 10 million refugees; of which many have poorer health compared with indigenous populations. Not being able to access, understand, appraise or apply health information; i.e. low health literacy; could be one explanatory factor. The main purposes of this study were to determine functional and complex health literacy levels among refugees in different subgroups in Sweden; and to investigate socio-demographic and health related factors associated with inadequate health literacy.

Method: A cross-sectional study with 455 adult refugees speaking Arabic, Dari, Somali or English; was performed. Data were collected among participants in 16 strategically selected language schools for immigrants. Health literacy was measured by translated versions of The Swedish Functional Health Literacy Scale and The HLS-EU-Q16 questionnaire. Group differences were investigated by using uni- and multivariate statistical methods.

Results: About 60 % of the refugees had inadequate functional health literacy and about 80 % had limited functional health literacy. Regarding complex health literacy; about 27 % had inadequate complex health literacy and about 62 % had limited complex health literacy. Those having low education and/or were born in Somalia had a statistical significant increased risk of having inadequate functional health literacy. Those with inadequate functional health literacy had a statistical significant increased risk of having inadequate complex health literacy.

Conclusions: The majority of refugees participating in the language schools had limited or poor health literacy. Compared with health literacy levels in many indigenous populations; functional as well as complex health literacy showed to be lower among the refugees in the study. Therefore health literacy should be taken into consideration in context and activities affect those. However, more research is needed for a deeper understanding of health literacy among refugees and for development of strategies and methods increasing health literacy as well as facilitating life for those with low health literacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
Keyword [en]
Health literacy, refugees, Sweden, S-FHL, HLS-EU-Q16
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Social Medicine
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-284985OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-284985DiVA: diva2:921055
Conference
The 2nd European Health Literacy Conference, 10 – 11 April 2014, Aarhus, Denmark
Available from: 2016-04-19 Created: 2016-04-19 Last updated: 2017-03-15Bibliographically approved

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Wångdahl, JosefinLytsy, PerWesterling, Ragnar

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