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Implementation of the National Action Plan Health Literacy in Germany—Lessons Learned
Article

Coronavirus-Related Health Literacy: A Cross-Sectional Study in Adults during the COVID-19 Infodemic in Germany

1
Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy Research, Faculty of Educational Science, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
2
Centre for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence, Faculty of Educational Science, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
3
School of Public Health, Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy Research, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
4
Department of Public Health and Education, Hertie School of Governance, 10117 Berlin, Germany
5
Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy Research, Centre for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence, Faculty of Educational Science, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
6
Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy Research, School of Public Health, Bielefeld University, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5503; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155503
Received: 20 June 2020 / Revised: 16 July 2020 / Accepted: 24 July 2020 / Published: 30 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Collection Global Health Literacy)
There is an “infodemic” associated with the COVID-19 pandemic—an overabundance of valid and invalid information. Health literacy is the ability to access, understand, appraise, and apply health information, making it crucial for navigating coronavirus and COVID-19 information environments. A cross-sectional representative study of participants ≥ 16 years in Germany was conducted using an online survey. A coronavirus-related health literacy measure was developed (HLS-COVID-Q22). Internal consistency was very high (α = 0.940; ρ = 0.891) and construct validity suggests a sufficient model fit, making HLS-COVID-Q22 a feasible tool for assessing coronavirus-related health literacy in population surveys. While 49.9% of our sample had sufficient levels of coronavirus-related health literacy, 50.1% had “problematic” (15.2%) or “inadequate” (34.9%) levels. Although the overall level of health literacy is high, a vast number of participants report difficulties dealing with coronavirus and COVID-19 information. The participants felt well informed about coronavirus, but 47.8% reported having difficulties judging whether they could trust media information on COVID-19. Confusion about coronavirus information was significantly higher among those who had lower health literacy. This calls for targeted public information campaigns and promotion of population-based health literacy for better navigation of information environments during the infodemic, identification of disinformation, and decision-making based on reliable and trustworthy information. View Full-Text
Keywords: health literacy; infodemic; survey; coronavirus 2; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Germany; adult population; HLS-EU-Q health literacy; infodemic; survey; coronavirus 2; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Germany; adult population; HLS-EU-Q
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MDPI and ACS Style

Okan, O.; Bollweg, T.M.; Berens, E.-M.; Hurrelmann, K.; Bauer, U.; Schaeffer, D. Coronavirus-Related Health Literacy: A Cross-Sectional Study in Adults during the COVID-19 Infodemic in Germany. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 5503. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155503

AMA Style

Okan O, Bollweg TM, Berens E-M, Hurrelmann K, Bauer U, Schaeffer D. Coronavirus-Related Health Literacy: A Cross-Sectional Study in Adults during the COVID-19 Infodemic in Germany. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(15):5503. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155503

Chicago/Turabian Style

Okan, Orkan, Torsten M. Bollweg, Eva-Maria Berens, Klaus Hurrelmann, Ullrich Bauer, and Doris Schaeffer. 2020. "Coronavirus-Related Health Literacy: A Cross-Sectional Study in Adults during the COVID-19 Infodemic in Germany" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 15: 5503. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155503

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