The Relationship of Health Literacy to the Stress Level of Informal Caregivers

By Jatunn Gibson and Jeff Snodgrass.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There are 65.7 million informal caregivers in the United States, many of whom are challenged by low-to-marginal health literacy skills and uninformed of health challenges associated with the increased stress of caregiving. A literature review revealed a knowledge gap in the health literacy level of caregivers and the impact health literacy has on the caregiver’s level of stress. Within the framework of the health belief model, this quantitative, cross-sectional study used the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults and the Zarit Burden Interview to examine the relationship among health literacy and caregivers’ stress. Utilizing linear regression analysis, the findings revealed a significant relationship between health literacy and the caregivers’ stress level. Utilizing one-way analyses of variance and post-hoc analyses of demographic factors and health literacy and burden of stress, the results demonstrated that participants with some high school education showed significantly lower health literacy levels than those with a college degree. Implications for positive social change for this study highlights the importance of addressing caregiver’s health literacy levels as a strategy to address the burden of stress associated with caregiving.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Literacy, Caregivers (Carers), Stress Levels

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 20, Issue 4, November 2014, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 610.682KB).

Dr. Jatunn Gibson

Family and Child Development Specialist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA

Dr. Jeff Snodgrass

Department of Occupational Therapy, Milligan College, Milligan College, TN, USA