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Health Literacy, Digital Health Literacy, and COVID-19 Pandemic Attitudes and Behaviors in U.S. College Students: Implications for Interventions

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Office of Public Health Studies, Thompson School of Social Work and Public Health, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1960 East West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
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School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 2528 McCarthy Mall, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
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School of Public Health, University at Albany, One University Place, Rensselaer, NY 12144, USA
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Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy, Bielefeld University, Universitätsstraße 25, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
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Department of Nursing and Health Science, Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Leipziger Straße 123, 36037 Fulda, Germany
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Center for Applied Health Science, Leuphana University of Lueneburg, Wilschenbrucher Weg 84a, 21335 Lüneburg, Germany
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Department of Community Health and Prevention, Dornsife School of Public Health, Drexel University, 3215 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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Department of Psychology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 2530 Dole Street, Sakamaki C400, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3301; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063301
Received: 19 February 2021 / Revised: 13 March 2021 / Accepted: 19 March 2021 / Published: 23 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eHealth Literacy 2.0)
The COVID-19 pandemic has been accompanied by rapidly emerging evidence, changing guidance, and misinformation, which present new challenges for health literacy (HL) and digital health literacy (DHL) skills. This study explored whether COVID-19-related information access, attitudes, and behaviors were associated with health literacy and digital health literacy among college students in the United States. Self-reported measures of health literacy, along with items on pandemic-related attitudes, behaviors, information sources, and social networks, were collected online using a managed research panel. In July 2020, 256 responses were collected, which mirrored the racial/ethnic and gender diversity of U.S. colleges. Only 49% reported adequate HL, and 57% found DHL tasks easy overall. DHL did not vary by HL level. In multivariable models, both HL and DHL were independently associated with overall compliance with basic preventive practices. Higher DHL, but not HL, was significantly associated with greater willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine and the belief that acquiring the disease would negatively impact their life. On average, respondents discussed health with 4–5 people, which did not vary by HL or DHL measures. The usage of online information sources varied by HL and DHL. The study findings can inform future student-focused interventions, including identifying the distinct roles of HL and DHL in pandemic information access, attitudes, and behaviors. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; health literacy; digital health literacy; eHealth literacy; college student; online survey; social network COVID-19; coronavirus; health literacy; digital health literacy; eHealth literacy; college student; online survey; social network
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MDPI and ACS Style

Patil, U.; Kostareva, U.; Hadley, M.; Manganello, J.A.; Okan, O.; Dadaczynski, K.; Massey, P.M.; Agner, J.; Sentell, T. Health Literacy, Digital Health Literacy, and COVID-19 Pandemic Attitudes and Behaviors in U.S. College Students: Implications for Interventions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 3301. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063301

AMA Style

Patil U, Kostareva U, Hadley M, Manganello JA, Okan O, Dadaczynski K, Massey PM, Agner J, Sentell T. Health Literacy, Digital Health Literacy, and COVID-19 Pandemic Attitudes and Behaviors in U.S. College Students: Implications for Interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(6):3301. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063301

Chicago/Turabian Style

Patil, Uday; Kostareva, Uliana; Hadley, Molly; Manganello, Jennifer A.; Okan, Orkan; Dadaczynski, Kevin; Massey, Philip M.; Agner, Joy; Sentell, Tetine. 2021. "Health Literacy, Digital Health Literacy, and COVID-19 Pandemic Attitudes and Behaviors in U.S. College Students: Implications for Interventions" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 18, no. 6: 3301. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063301

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