Senior researcher Care Demand of the Chronically Ill and Disabled; coordinator Panel of People with Lung Disease
Associations between neighborhood social capital, health literacy and self-rated health among people with chronic illness.
Waverijn, G., Heijmans, M., Spreeuwenberg, P., Groenewegen, P. Associations between neighborhood social capital, health literacy and self-rated health among people with chronic illness. Journal of Health Communication: 2016, 21(sup2), 36-44Read online
Health literacy skills are important for health and self-management for people with chronic illness. Neighborhood social capital can provide resources, such as access to information and informal social control over unhealthy behavior. The benefit of these resources, and the access people have to these resources, might depend on levels of health literacy. We investigated whether neighborhood social capital is differentially related to the health of people with chronic illness according to health literacy skills. This study focused on health literacy skills in 4 domains related to the ability to access and understand health information and to the ability to perform self-management. We found a significant positive interaction between social capital and health literacy skills for accessing and understanding health information. This suggests that health literacy enhances people’s ability to gain access to and use neighborhood resources to benefit health. There was no interaction effect between social capital and health literacy skills in the other 2 domains. More research is needed to investigate how people with chronic illness can benefit from knowledge, support, and other social resources for health and self-management also whether they have limited health literacy skills.