IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/socmed/v73y2011i1p60-67.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Critical health literacy: A review and critical analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Chinn, Deborah

Abstract

Though there has been a considerable expansion of interest in the health literacy concept worldwide, there has also been criticism that this concept has been poorly defined, that it stretches the idea of "literacy" to an indefensible extent and more specifically, that it adds little to the existing concerns and intervention approaches of the better established discipline of health promotion. This paper takes as a starting point the expanded model of health literacy advanced by Nutbeam (2000) and addresses these concerns by interrogating the concept of "critical health literacy" in order to draw conclusions about its utility for advancing the health of individuals and communities. The constituent domains of critical health literacy are identified; namely information appraisal, understanding the social determinants of health, and collective action, and as far as possible each are clearly delineated, with links to related concepts made explicit. The paper concludes that an appreciation of work undertaken in a range of different disciplines, such as media studies, medical sociology, and evidence-based medicine can enhance our understanding of the critical health literacy construct and help us understand its usefulness as a social asset which helps individuals towards a critical engagement with health information. There is some evidence that aspects of critical health literacy have indeed been found to be a resource for better health outcomes, but more research is needed in this area, both to develop quantitative and qualitative approaches to evaluating health literacy skills, and to offer convincing evidence that investment in programmes designed to enhance critical health literacy are worthwhile.

Suggested Citation

  • Chinn, Deborah, 2011. "Critical health literacy: A review and critical analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 60-67, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:1:p:60-67
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953611002401
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jane Wills, 2009. "Health literacy: new packaging for health education or radical movement?," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 54(1), pages 3-4, February.
    2. Blaxter, Mildred, 1997. "Whose fault is it? People's own conceptions of the reasons for health inequalities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(6), pages 747-756, March.
    3. Macintyre, Sally & McKay, Laura & Ellaway, Anne, 2005. "Are rich people or poor people more likely to be ill? Lay perceptions, by social class and neighbourhood, of inequalities in health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 313-317, January.
    4. Greiner, K. Allen & Li, Chaoyang & Kawachi, Ichiro & Hunt, D. Charles & Ahluwalia, Jasjit S., 2004. "The relationships of social participation and community ratings to health and health behaviors in areas with high and low population density," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 59(11), pages 2303-2312, December.
    5. Don Nutbeam, 2009. "Defining and measuring health literacy: what can we learn from literacy studies?," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 54(5), pages 303-305, October.
    6. Hawe, Penelope & Shiell, Alan, 2000. "Social capital and health promotion: a review," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(6), pages 871-885, September.
    7. Beeker, Carolyn & Guenther-Grey, Carolyn & Raj, Anita, 1998. "Community empowerment paradigm drift and the primary prevention of HIV/AIDS," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 831-842, April.
    8. Lupton, Deborah, 1997. "Consumerism, reflexivity and the medical encounter," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 373-381, August.
    9. Salmon, Peter & Hall, George M, 2003. "Patient empowerment and control: a psychological discourse in the service of medicine," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(10), pages 1969-1980, November.
    10. Davidson, Rosemary & Kitzinger, Jenny & Hunt, Kate, 2006. "The wealthy get healthy, the poor get poorly? Lay perceptions of health inequalities," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(9), pages 2171-2182, May.
    11. Nutbeam, Don, 2008. "The evolving concept of health literacy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 67(12), pages 2072-2078, December.
    12. Cattell, Vicky, 2001. "Poor people, poor places, and poor health: the mediating role of social networks and social capital," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(10), pages 1501-1516, May.
    13. Sara Rubinelli & Peter Schulz & Kent Nakamoto, 2009. "Health literacy beyond knowledge and behaviour: letting the patient be a patient," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 54(5), pages 307-311, October.
    14. Collins, Patricia A. & Abelson, Julia & Eyles, John D., 2007. "Knowledge into action?: Understanding ideological barriers to addressing health inequalities at the local level," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 158-171, January.
    15. Poortinga, Wouter, 2006. "Social capital: An individual or collective resource for health?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 292-302, January.
    16. Eyles, John & Brimacombe, Michael & Chaulk, Paul & Stoddart, Greg & Pranger, Tina & Moase, Olive, 2001. "What determines health? To where should we shift resources? : Attitudes towards the determinants of health among multiple stakeholder groups in Prince Edward Island, Canada," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(12), pages 1611-1619, December.
    17. Anke Steckelberg & Christian Hülfenhaus & Jürgen Kasper & Ingrid Mühlhauser, 2009. "Ebm@school – a curriculum of critical health literacy for secondary school students: results of a pilot study," International Journal of Public Health, Springer;Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+), vol. 54(3), pages 158-165, May.
    18. Lee, Shoou-Yih D. & Arozullah, Ahsan M. & Cho, Young Ik, 2004. "Health literacy, social support, and health: a research agenda," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(7), pages 1309-1321, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Musharraf Cyan & Michael Price & Mark Rider, 2017. "A Health Literacy RCT toward Improvement of Programmatic Outcomes of Tuberculosis Control in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan Governance Support Program Post-Crisis," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1711, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:73:y:2011:i:1:p:60-67. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.