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International application of health literacy measures : Adaptation and validation of the newest vital sign in The Netherlands

By Mirjam P. Fransen, Karlijn EF Leenaars, Gill Rowlands, Barry Weiss, Henk Pander Maat and Marie-Louise Essink-Bot


Objective: The newest vital sign assesses individual reading and numeracy skills. The aim of this study was to create a Dutch version (NVS-D) and to assess its feasibility, reliability, and validity in The Netherlands. Methods: We performed a qualitative study among experts (n = 27) and patients (n = 30) to develop the NVS-D and to assess its feasibility. For validation, we conducted a quantitative survey (n = 329). Reliability was assessed by Cronbach’s alpha. Construct validity was examined by analyzing association patterns. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves determined optimal cut-off scores. Results: Cronbach’s alpha was 0.76. In accordance with a priori hypotheses we found strong associations between NVS-D, general vocabulary, prose literacy and objective health literacy, and weaker associations between NVS-D and subjective health literacy. A score of 4 out of 6 best distinguished individuals with adequate versus inadequate health literacy. Conclusion: The results suggest that the NVS-D is a reliable and valid tool that allows international comparable health literacy research in The Netherlands. Practice implications: The NVS-D can be applied in research on the role of health literacy in health and health care, and the development of interventions. The methods can be applied in cross-cultural adaptation of health literacy measures in other countries

Topics: Health literacy, Measurement, Newest vital sign, Validation, Cross-cultural adaptation
Year: 2014
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