151 Scopus citations


Research suggests that much of the available health education literature requires a level of reading ability that makes it inaccessible to a large proportion of the population in greatest need of health information. The present study tested the value of illustrations and a narrative text style as means of improving the readability of a brochure designed to provide information on cervical cancer and condyloma. Two versions of the brochure were designed, one that had only text presented as simple sentences in bullet-type format (SMOG reading level score of 7.7), and a second version that had somewhat more difficult text formatted in a narrative style (SMOG grade level score of 8.4) together with drawings designed to complement the text. A randomized study design was used to test for comprehension, perceived ease of understanding, and overall rating of the two brochures. Women selected from one private and three public health primary-care clinics were randomly assigned to read one of the two brochures. The brochure with illustrations and narrative text was given a significantly higher overall rating than the one with bullet-type text and no illustrations, while no difference was found in perceived ease of reading. Among poor readers, comprehension was significantly greater for women who read the brochure with illustrations and narrative text, with no difference in comprehension of the two brochures for better readers. The results suggest that the use of aids such as illustrations and text style can make health education literature more accessible to high-risk populations, while remaining interesting enough to appeal to individuals at all levels of reading ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-260
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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