Health literacy: a cross-disciplinary study in American undergraduate college students

Rachel Joseph, Samantha Fernandes, Lauri Hyers, Kerri O'Brien
2016, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 26-39


Our research aims to assess the health literacy of undergraduate college students. Past research on the health literacy of undergraduate students has revealed some gaps in the undergraduate health literacy. In this study, we employed the Newest Vital Sign Test to measure health literacy. We interviewed 235 undergraduate students from health majors (nursing and other health) and non-health majors. We hypothesised that due to the specificity of a health-related curriculum, nursing and other health-related majors would score higher in health literacy than non-health-related majors, and that nursing majors in particular would score higher than other health-related majors and non-health-related majors. We found support for our hypothesis, as nursing majors had a mean score of 3.57, while health and non-health majors had a mean score of 3.24 and 2.88 respectively when assessing their health literacy levels. We discuss our results with regard to the strategies for improving health literacy skills.


information literacy; health literacy; health education; nursing; US

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