Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Health Literacy Project


Exploring Health Literacy in Tertiary Students: An International Study

Early in 2014 Associate Professor Robyn Dixon from the School of Nursing, The University of Auckland, in conjunction with WUN collaborators, led a study to measure levels of health literacy among university students training to become health professionals using the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ).

As a result, 6806 students from 19 universities from around the world have completed an online version of the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ). The universities are located in Australia, New Zealand, England, Germany, Denmark, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Nepal and the United States of America.

During 2016, collaborators at individual universities have started analysing their individual data sets and writing articles which detail the health literacy profiles of their student. Simultaneously the research team at the University of Auckland have aggregated the data from all universities and are beginning to analyse the information collected. The analysis seeks to:

  1. Explore the influence of sociocultural factors on health literacy with a particular emphasis on culture.
  2. Track the development of health literacy in students in health professional training programmes.  It is anticipated that data from this arm of the study will inform educators, and contribute to curriculum development, which ensures students graduating from health professional programmes have high personal levels of health literacy.
  3. Assess levels of health literacy among the wider tertiary student population with the view to informing the development of health literate tertiary institutions.

If you are interested in collaborating on this research programme or would like more information about the current research programme then we would like to hear from you