Health Literacy: Implications and Interventions for Adolescents and Young Adults with Type 1 Diabetes
Investigator: Jennifer Nicholas, Telethon Kids Institute/Princess Margaret Hospital
Co-investigators: Dr Melanie Burkhardt and Professor Bu Yeap, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Professor Donna Cross, Telethon Kids Institute, Professor Elizabeth Davis, Professor Tim Jones, Telethon Kids Institute/Princess Margaret Hospital
Summary: Poor health literacy (HL) is associated with inequalities in how people access healthcare, interpret healthcare messages and their health outcomes. Approximately 60 per cent of Australians are estimated to have low HL, which is an independent risk factor for more hospitalisations and poorer diabetes outcomes. Further, people with diabetes may experience higher rates of psychological distress, with evidence emerging around the impact of diabetes acceptance, as another factor influencing diabetes self-management behaviours and subsequently health outcomes. There are also known associations between lower HL and poorer communication with healthcare providers. These are likely to be particularly important considerations in the care of adolescents and young adults who are managing their diabetes through a time of significant developmental, social and healthcare transition. This project will examine HL, in conjunction with measures of psychosocial risk and wellbeing and diabetes health outcomes, in a Western Australian population of adolescents and young adults with Type 1 Diabetes. There is currently limited evidence of the potential risks of poor HL, and its associations with other determinants of health outcomes including knowledge, health behaviours and support systems, among adolescents and young adults with diabetes. The identification of ‘at risk’ groups will help to guide the delivery of targeted interventions aimed at maximising interest and intent, for individuals with Type 1 Diabetes to manage their health optimally.