Reading and Comprehension Levels in a Sample of Urban, Low-Income Persons
Health Education Journal
Objective: Because health literacy is related to healthcare outcomes, this study looked at reading and comprehension levels in a sample of urban, low-income persons.
Design: This was a descriptive exploration of reading comprehension levels, controlled for medical problems that could impact on vision and therefore ability to read.Setting: Ninety persons were recruited in the waiting areas of a healthcare provider serving the homeless and urban poor.
Method: Visual acuity and blood pressures were obtained and for diabetic patients measures of glycaemic control were recorded. Reading and comprehension was tested with the Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT) 4 standardized assessment. Limited demographic data was obtained.Descriptive and frequency statistics were calculated as well as Pearson r coefficients.
Results: Results indicated that most participants were healthy or had well controlled conditions. No health parameters were significantly related to reading/comprehension scores. Reading and comprehension scores were lower than standardized norms with mean reading just under grade 10 and comprehension at mid-ninth grade. The mean composite scores placed them in the lower 30th percentile of readers. Women scored below men in all areas.
Conclusion: Participants in this study had reading and comprehension levels at beginning high school level. They may have difficulty understanding healthcare hand-outs and instructions. Healthcare information sources should be written at levels comprehensible to clients, and alternative methods of information dissemination should be considered.
Delgado, Cheryl and Weitzel, Marilyn, "Reading and Comprehension Levels in a Sample of Urban, Low-Income Persons" (2012). Nursing Faculty Publications. 18.