New research investigates relationship between health literacy and self-care

Jessie Chin
Jessie Chin, Assistant Professor

It is important for patients to understand the information they need for making health decisions, yet studies have shown that a large segment of the population lacks the health literacy to do so. Health literacy refers to capacity of people to obtain, process, and understand health information needed for making health decisions.

Assistant Professor Jessie Chin addresses this topic in the paper, "Health Literacy, Processing Capacity, Illness Knowledge, and Actionable Memory for Medication Taking in Type 2 Diabetes: Cross-Sectional Analysis," which was recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The paper's coauthors include Huaping Wang, Adam W. Awwad, and James F. Graumlich, University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria; Michael S. Wolf, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; and Daniel G. Morrow, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Illinois.

"Many people have inadequate health literacy to support them in understanding health information and/or performing basic self-care activities," said Chin. "Successful self-care would lead to better health outcomes, especially for patients with chronic illness."

In their study, Chin and her colleagues investigated the relationship between health literacy and "actionable memory," or memory for medication purposes, among patients with diabetes. Their results demonstrated the link between health literacy and self-care, which the researchers said could be accounted for by both the processing capacity and health knowledge of the patients.

"The study also showed that there are individual differences in the way that people can compensate for limitations in their cognitive capacities in order to maintain their health literacy. The implications of our study include improving medication adherence for patients with chronic illness through multiple strategies to promote the actionable memory of medication-taking," said Chin.

Chin holds a BS in psychology from National Taiwan University, an MS in human factors, and a PhD in educational psychology with a focus on cognitive science in teaching and learning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

iSchool researchers to present at CHI 2021

iSchool faculty and students will present their research at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021), which will be held virtually from May 8-13. The conference, considered the most prestigious in the field of Human-Computer Interaction, attracts researchers and practitioners from around the globe. The theme for CHI 2021 is "Making Waves, Combining Strengths."

New project to promote COVID-19 vaccination

Patients with compromised health conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, are at enhanced risk of contracting COVID-19. Unfortunately, these patients are also hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine because of their condition. A new project, led by Assistant Professor Jessie Chin, aims to develop an accessible, generalizable, and efficient digital health solution for promoting vaccination among vulnerable populations.

Jessie Chin

Seo to join iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that JooYoung Seo will join the faculty as an assistant professor in August 2021. He is a PhD candidate in the Learning, Design, and Technology program at Pennsylvania State University and also an RStudio double-certified data science instructor and accessibility expert certified by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).

JooYoung Seo

Twidale promotes usability for everyone, everywhere

According to Professor Michael Twidale, bad usability can be an irritation for everyone but "especially awful" for the underprivileged. In "Everyone Everywhere: A Distributed and Embedded Paradigm for Usability," which was recently published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), Twidale and coauthors David M. Nichols (University of Waikato, New Zealand) and Christopher P. Lueg (Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland) present a new paradigm to address the persistence of difficulties that people have in accessing and using information.

Professor Michael Twidale

Reframing story as a fundamental information form

According to Associate Professor Kate McDowell, story is an important but often overlooked form of information. In her article, "Storytelling Wisdom: Story, Information, and DIKW," which was recently published in the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), McDowell calls for a new way of thinking about the DIKW pyramid. In her S-DIKW framework, story is connected to each of the fundamental information forms—data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.

Kate McDowell