Lower Health Literacy Tied to Worse Patient-Reported Outcomes After TBI
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Lower Health Literacy Tied to Worse Patient-Reported Outcomes After TBI

Perceived physical health, mental health worse for adults with traumatic brain injury and low health literacy

WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Low health literacy is associated with worse perceived physical health and greater depressive symptoms among adults with traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a study published in the March-April issue of the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation.

Monique R. Pappadis, Ph.D., from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues examined associations between health literacy and health outcomes among individuals with TBI at least a year after injury. The analysis included 205 individuals with complicated mild to severe TBI.

The researchers found that after controlling for sociodemographics, injury, cognition, and time postinjury, adequate health literacy was associated with higher odds of greater perceived physical health versus marginal or inadequate health literacy (odds ratio, 4.10). Greater odds of depression were seen among participants with inadequate or marginal health literacy (odds ratio, 3.50) versus those with adequate health literacy. On the Medical and Mental Health Comorbidities Interview, participants aged 45 years and older reported a greater number of physical health conditions but fewer mental health conditions. Additionally, those aged 45 years and older had fewer anxiety symptoms versus younger participants. Compared with non-Hispanic Black participants or those with severe TBI, non-Hispanic White participants and those with mild/moderate TBI were more likely to report a greater number of mental health conditions. There were associations of greater time postinjury with a greater number of chronic physical and mental health conditions and lower odds of good-to-excellent perceived global mental health.

"Greater efforts are needed to explore the mechanisms by which health literacy influences chronic disease management and mental health after TBI to improve postinjury health status and outcomes, particularly among those with limited health literacy skills," the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text

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