Can Education, Internet Use or Social Support Improve Health Literacy? : A Pilot Study of a Cross-sectional Population Survey in Japan<人文・社会科学>Can Education, Internet Use or Social Support Improve Health Literacy? : A Pilot Study of a Cross-sectional Population Survey in Japan<人文・社会科学> ヘルスリテラシーと学歴、インターネット、ソーシャルサポートに関する研究
The revolution in information technologies has allowed people instant and equal access to health information. However, social support and socioeconomic status (SES), which all affect health literacy in the Internet era, has not been well documented in Japan. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate whether education, Internet use, and social support affects health literacy among different age groups. This study is a secondary analysis using data gathered from 2,752 people aged 20 and over who participated in a cross-sectional population survey conducted in Japan in 2007. Three aspects of health literacy (finding, understanding, and evaluating) were assessed in terms of perceived self-efficacy. The results of a multivariate analysis of covariance indicated that although Internet use was correlated with high self-efficacy in finding health information, having informational social support was more strongly associated with self-efficacy in evaluating health information for all age groups. Education was statistically unrelated to self-efficacy with regard to all three abilities of health literacy among young adults. As such, Internet use, and informational social support appear to play a role in improving total health literacy for all age groups. Further studies are necessary in order to learn more about the effect of education on health literacy in the Internet era.