The relationship among functional health literacy, self-rated health, and social support among younger and older adults in Ghana

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is well established that health literacy positively affects health outcomes, and social support influences this association. What remains unclear is which aspect of social support (instrumental, informational, and emotional support) is responsible for this effect and whether the influence differs from one population group to another. This study addresses these lacunae. It examines the impact each type of support makes on the relation between functional health literacy (FHL) and self-rated health status among younger and older adults in Ghana. Data were pooled from two cross-sectional surveys, together comprising 521 participants in the Ashanti Region. The results indicated that young adults were more likely to possess sufficient FHL and perceive their health more positively than older adults. While FHL was positively associated with health status, the relation was stronger when young adults received a high level of emotional support. Among older persons, informational support substantially moderated the association between FHL and health status. Thus, social support modifies the relations between FHL and health status among younger and older adults in different ways and to different degrees. Therefore, interventions to improve FHL and health amongst younger and older adults should pay due regard to relevant aspects of social support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3188
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume16
Issue number17
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

The author acknowledges the Hong Kong Research Grants Council through its PhD Fellowship Scheme (Reference number: PF13-11276), for funding the research on which this paper is based. However, the funders played no role in designing the study, gathering and analyzing data, manuscript preparation and the decision to publish the manuscript. Preparation of the manuscript was also supported through the Lignan University Seed Fund (Reference number: 102338).

Keywords

  • Ghana
  • Health literacy
  • Health status
  • Older persons
  • Social networks
  • Social support
  • Young and emerging adults

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