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An online survey to study the relationship between patients’ health literacy and coping style and their preferences for self-management-related information

Authors Vosbergen S, Peek N, Mulder-Wiggers J, Kemps H, Kraaijenhagen R, Jaspers M, Lacroix J

Received 18 November 2013

Accepted for publication 29 January 2014

Published 6 May 2014 Volume 2014:8 Pages 631—642


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Sandra Vosbergen,1 Niels Peek,1 Johanna MR Mulder-Wiggers,1 Hareld MC Kemps,1,2 Roderik A Kraaijenhagen,3 Monique WM Jaspers,1,4 Joyca PW Lacroix5

1Department of Medical Informatics, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2Department of Cardiology, Máxima Medical Centre, Veldhoven, the Netherlands, 3NIPED Research Foundation, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 4Center for Human Factors Engineering of Health Information Technology (HIT Lab), Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 5Department of Brain, Body and Behavior, Philips Research, Eindhoven, the Netherlands

Objective: To evaluate patients’ preferences for message features and assess their relationships with health literacy, monitor–blunter coping style, and other patient-dependent characteristics.
Methods: Patients with coronary heart disease completed an internet-based survey, which assessed health literacy and monitor–blunter coping style, as well as various other patient characteristics such as sociodemographics, disease history, and explicit information preferences. To assess preferences for message features, nine text sets differing in one of nine message features were composed, and participants were asked to state their preferences.
Results: The survey was completed by 213 patients. For three of the nine text sets, a ­relationship was found between patient preference and health literacy or monitor–blunter coping style. Patients with low health literacy preferred the text based on patient experience. Patients with a monitoring coping style preferred information on short-term effects of their treatment and mentioning of explicit risks. Various other patient characteristics such as marital status, social support, disease history, and age also showed a strong association.
Conclusion: Individual differences exist in patients’ preferences for message features, and these preferences relate to patient characteristics such as health literacy and monitor–blunter coping style.

Keywords: patient preferences, patient education, monitor–blunter coping style, information tailoring, message features

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