Literacy, Numeracy, and Health Information Seeking Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults in the United States

Takashi Yamashita, Anthony R. Bardo, Darren Liu, Phyllis A. Cummins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: Health literacy is often viewed as an essential skill set for successfully seeking health information to make health-related decisions. However, this general understanding has yet to be established with the use of nationally representative data. The objective of this study was to provide the first nationally representative empirical evidence that links health information seeking behaviors with health literacy among middle-age to older adults in the United States. Methods: Data were obtained from the 2012/2014 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Literacy (PIAAC). Our analytic sample is representative of adults age 45 to 74 years (N = 2,989). Results: Distinct components of health literacy (i.e., literacy and numeracy) were uniquely associated with the use of different health information sources (e.g., health professionals, the Internet, television). Discussion: Findings should be useful for government agencies and health care providers interested in targeting health communications, as well as researchers who focus on health disparities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-41
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • health behaviors
  • health literacy
  • life course

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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