Testing health literacy skills in older Korean adults

Tae Wha Lee, Soo Jin Kang, Han Joo Lee, Soo In Hyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop a valid and reliable screening test for limited health literacy for older Korean adults. Methods: A pool of 102 items was generated based on empirical referents, which, after expert review, field study, and content validity, was reduced to 29 items with three subscales. Construct validity and reliability were established using a convenience sample of 411 community dwelling elderly participants and exploratory factor analysis, and Cronbach's alpha was employed. Rasch analysis was also performed to assess the unidimensionality of the construct and item adequacy. Results: Rasch analysis showed that the scale was unidimensional and the majority of the items demonstrated good fit. The final instrument, the Korean Health Literacy Scale (KHLS), is a 24-item questionnaire containing short passages, pictures, and graphs with multiple-choice answer format, with an internal consistency of .891. There are 13 comprehension and numeracy questions and 11 questions about health-related terms; the test requires 15-20 min for administration. Conclusion: KHLS is culturally suitable as a screening test for limited literacy for older Korean adults in the community. Practice Implications: Korean investigators now have a validated health literacy tool for research with elderly participants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-307
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Korea Science Foundation (7-2008-0039). The funding source had no involvement in study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of data, writing the report, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing health literacy skills in older Korean adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this