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Health literacy in the domain of healthcare among older migrants in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia). Findings from a cross-sectional survey

Eva-Maria Berens (Interdisciplinary Center for Health Literacy Research, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany)
Kristin Ganahl (Agency for Preventive and Social Medicine, Bregenz, Austria)
Dominique Vogt (Interdisciplinary Center for Health Literacy Research, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany)
Doris Schaeffer (Interdisciplinary Center for Health Literacy Research, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Article publication date: 9 January 2021

Issue publication date: 18 February 2021

187

Abstract

Purpose

Health literacy (HL) is considered an important prerequisite for informed, self-determined health decisions. HL research among older migrants is scarce, but especially important, as older people face great challenges regarding management of chronic illnesses and, therefore, are in need of adequate healthcare. Therefore, this paper aims to report HL in the domain of healthcare (HL-HC) among older migrants in Germany stratified by different countries of origin.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected by a quota sample in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Computer-assisted personal face-to-face interviews were conducted in German, Russian and Turkish. For this analysis, a subsample of 192 first-generation migrants aged 65–80 years from Turkey, Poland, Greece or Italy was drawn from the main sample (n = 1,000). HL-HC was assessed using a sub-index of health literacy survey European questionnaire 47. Data analyses comprised descriptive statistics, bivariate and multivariate analyses.

Findings

Overall, 68.6% of the older migrants have limited HL-HC, and mean HL-HC scores vary significantly among different countries of origin. There is great variation in reported difficulties for the single HL-HC tasks by migrant groups. In multiple regressions, country of origin, not German as main language, low functional HL and low social status are significantly associated with lower HL-HC.

Practical implications

Interventions should be aimed at smaller target groups and should consider language issues and possible differences related to countries of origin into account. Both individual skills and system-related aspects need to be addressed.

Originality/value

This paper presents first data on HL-HC among older migrants in Germany and its determinants, stratified by different countries of origin.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research was funded by Landeszentrum für Gesundheit Nordrhein-Westfalen (LZG.NRW).

Citation

Berens, E.-M., Ganahl, K., Vogt, D. and Schaeffer, D. (2021), "Health literacy in the domain of healthcare among older migrants in Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia). Findings from a cross-sectional survey", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 62-74. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-09-2019-0078

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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