Skill Set or Mind Set? Associations between Health Literacy, Patient Activation and Health

POLS: 9/4/13

There is ongoing debate on whether health literacy represents a skill-based construct for health self-management, or if it also more broadly captures personal ‘activation’ or motivation to manage health. This research examines 1) the association between patient activation and health literacy as they are most commonly measured and 2) the independent and combined associations of patient activation and health literacy skills with physical and mental health.


A secondary analysis of baseline cross-sectional data from the LitCog cohort of older adults was used. Participants (n = 697) were recruited from multiple US-based health centers. During structured face-to-face interviews, participants completed the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA), the Patient Activation Measure (PAM), the SF-36 physical health summary subscale, and Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information Service (PROMIS) short form subscales for depression and anxiety. Read More