Inroads Into Healthy Decision-Making

The Role of Health Literacy in Health Communication

Authored by: Sarah A. Aghazadeh , Linda Aldoory

The Routledge Handbook of Health Communication

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367488956
eBook ISBN: 9781003043379
Adobe ISBN:


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Health literacy, commonly defined as the degree to which individuals can obtain, process, and understand health information, serves as an important determinant of healthy decisions and is central to the work of health communication researchers and practitioners. This chapter outlines the state of the field of health literacy: its definitions, models, measurements, and central debates at the intersection of health communication, medicine, and public health. The chapter includes an example of an applied intervention where a health literacy campaign was implemented in a community. It considers future research directions to position health communication scholars at the front lines of health literacy research, with the hopes of encouraging scholarship that inspires social change, community approaches, and attention to digital media contexts.

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