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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(15)2020 Jul 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-693598

ABSTRACT

There is an "infodemic" associated with the COVID-19 pandemic-an overabundance of valid and invalid information. Health literacy is the ability to access, understand, appraise, and apply health information, making it crucial for navigating coronavirus and COVID-19 information environments. A cross-sectional representative study of participants ≥ 16 years in Germany was conducted using an online survey. A coronavirus-related health literacy measure was developed (HLS-COVID-Q22). Internal consistency was very high (α = 0.940; ρ = 0.891) and construct validity suggests a sufficient model fit, making HLS-COVID-Q22 a feasible tool for assessing coronavirus-related health literacy in population surveys. While 49.9% of our sample had sufficient levels of coronavirus-related health literacy, 50.1% had "problematic" (15.2%) or "inadequate" (34.9%) levels. Although the overall level of health literacy is high, a vast number of participants report difficulties dealing with coronavirus and COVID-19 information. The participants felt well informed about coronavirus, but 47.8% reported having difficulties judging whether they could trust media information on COVID-19. Confusion about coronavirus information was significantly higher among those who had lower health literacy. This calls for targeted public information campaigns and promotion of population-based health literacy for better navigation of information environments during the infodemic, identification of disinformation, and decision-making based on reliable and trustworthy information.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Health Literacy/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Young Adult
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