The Influence of Health Literacy and Patient Activation on Patient Information Seeking and Sharing

Christy J.W. Ledford, Lauren A. Cafferty, Travis C. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study provided an assessment of how patients looked for information to prepare for a clinical appointment and whether they shared those findings with their provider. A cross-sectional survey allowed insight into patient attitudes, motivations, and behavior in clinical real time. At two hospital-based clinics, 243 patients completed surveys before and after clinical appointments. Younger patients with higher communicative and critical health literacy prepared for clinical appointments with information searches. The predicted association of health literacy and patient activation with information sharing was not supported. This study shows that patients with higher patient activation perceived that their providers responded more positively to patient-obtained medical information. The role of critical health literacy may show that individuals choosing to seek information are considering not just their ability to conduct the search but also their ability to synthesize and critically analyze the results of the information search. An implication for providers is to become skilled in directly asking or passively surveying what outside information sources the patient has engaged with, no matter if the patient does or does not introduce the information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-82
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Health Communication
StatePublished - Oct 9 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'The Influence of Health Literacy and Patient Activation on Patient Information Seeking and Sharing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this