Does health literacy reinforce disease knowledge gain? A prospective observational study of hungarian copd patients

Orsolya Papp-Zipernovszky, Márta Csabai, Peter J. Schulz, János T. Varga

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4 Scopus citations


We set out to measure the health literacy (HL) of COPD patients using the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy (S-TOFHLA), perception-based screening questions (BHLS), and a specific disease knowledge test (COPD-Q). Our main focus is the relationship between functional HL and patients’ disease-knowledge, which contributes to the clarification of the relationship between the different kinds of HL. In two prospective observational studies, 151 COPD patients (80 males, mean age: 62 ± 9 years) completed a questionnaire containing HL measurements, psychological tests (e.g., the Self-Control and Self-Management Scale), and questions regarding subjective health status. Medical data of the patients from the MedSole system were added. The HL scores of the COPD patients were compared to a representative sample using a t-test. Furthermore, correlations of HL with demographic, psychological, and medical variables were calculated within the patient group. The relations among the different HL measurements were tested by chi-square trials. COPD patients had significantly lower HL, as measured by S-TOFHLA. Younger and higher educated patients possessed higher S-TOFHLA scores. Unlike the demographic variables, general self-management showed significant correlations with both BHLS and with COPD-Q. Out of the medical variables, objective health status was associated with BHLS and COPD-Q. Neither BHLS nor S-TOFHLA had a correlation with COPD-Q, but they correlated with each other. We found S-TOFHLA to be a better tool in the medical context. There is a clear gap between self-perceived/functional HL and the necessary disease knowledge. Rehabilitation care for patients with lower HL was more advantageous.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3990
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Health literacy
  • Health services utilization
  • Lifestyles
  • Self-management


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