Health Promot Int. 2021 Jun 11:daab085. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daab085. Online ahead of print.
Concerning the determinants of health literacy (HL) mostly socio-demographic or -economic factors have been considered, much less so psychological factors such as self-efficacy. To date, it has mostly been considered to explain the relationship of HL and health outcomes. However, self-efficacy could also be an important determinant for HL. This study therefore examines the effect of self-efficacy on comprehensive HL within the general population in Germany. Data from the German HL Survey (HLS-GER), a cross-sectional, computer-assisted personal interview study among 2000 respondents aged 15+ years in 2014 were used. Self-efficacy was measured using the German version of general self-efficacy short scale (ASKU), comprehensive HL was measured using the German version of the European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q47). Correlation and multi-variate linear regression analyses were performed to analyze independent effects of socio-demographic factors-age, gender, social status, educational level and migration background-functional HL and self-efficacy on comprehensive HL. Self-efficacy and comprehensive HL are statistically significantly correlated (Spearman’s Rho = 0.405; p < 0.01), respondents with better self-efficacy had better HL scores. Both concepts are significantly associated with most socio-demographic factors and functional HL. Self-efficacy showed the strongest association with HL in the multivariate analyses (model 2: β =0.310, p < 0.001). The effect size of the other predictors decreased, when adding self-efficacy into the equation, but remained statistically significant. Self-efficacy is a rather strong predictor of comprehensive HL. Future research and measures to improve HL should therefore take self-efficacy adequately into account.