Health Literacy and Cancer Prevention: Do People Understand What They Hear?

This study, led by Dr. Kathy Mazor of the University of Massachusetts, is developing a test of comprehension of oral (i.e., spoken) messages about cancer prevention and screening. Current measures of health literacy involve comprehension of written material, which is not how most key health information is transmitted. The team will examine the relationship between health literacy and cancer prevention using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Findings will lay the foundation for future research into the prevalence of inadequate oral health literacy, identification of groups and individuals with inadequate comprehension skills, and identification of risk factors and causes of limited comprehension. The project will develop recommendations for modifying oral messages so that they are easily comprehensible, and will test the impact of specific enhancements in a randomized experiment.

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