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Graph literacy matters: Examining the association between graph literacy, health literacy, and numeracy in a Medicaid eligible population

Marie-Anne Durand 1, 2 Renata Yen 1 James O’ Malley 1 Glyn Elwyn 1 Julien Mancini 3, *
* Corresponding author
3 SESSTIM - U1252 INSERM - AMU - UMR 259 IRD - “Cancer, Biomedicine & Society” group
SESSTIM - U1252 INSERM - Aix Marseille Univ - UMR 259 IRD - Sciences Economiques et Sociales de la Santé & Traitement de l'Information Médicale
Abstract : Objectives: Graphic display formats are often used to enhance health information. Yet limited attention has been paid to graph literacy in people of lower education and lower socioeconomic status (SES). This study aimed to: 1) examine the relationship between graph literacy, numeracy, health literacy and sociodemographic characteristics in a Medicaid-eligible population 2) determine the impact of graph literacy on comprehension and preference for different visual formats. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional online survey among people in the US on Medicaid, and of presumed lower education and SES. Results: The mean graph literacy score among 436 participants was 1.47 (SD 1.05, range: 0 to 4). Only graph literacy was significantly associated with overall comprehension (p < .001). Mean comprehension scores were highest for the table format (1.91), closely followed by bar graph (1.85) and icon array (1.80). Information comprehension was aligned with preference scores. Conclusions: Graph literacy in a Medicaid-eligible population was lower than previous estimates in the US. Tables were better understood, with icon arrays yielding the lowest score. Preferences aligned with comprehension. Practice implications: It may be necessary to reconsider the use of graphic display formats when designing information for people with lower educational levels. Further research is needed.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03192544
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Marie-Anne Durand, Renata Yen, James O’ Malley, Glyn Elwyn, Julien Mancini. Graph literacy matters: Examining the association between graph literacy, health literacy, and numeracy in a Medicaid eligible population. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2020, 15 (11), pp.e0241844. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0241844⟩. ⟨inserm-03192544⟩

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