A Multi-faceted Approach to Promote Comprehension of Online Health Information among Older Adults

Jessie Chin, Darcie D. Moeller, Jessica Johnson, Elise A.G. Duwe, James F. Graumlich, Michael D. Murray, Daniel G Morrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose of the Study: Older adults' self-care often depends on understanding and utilizing health information. Inadequate health literacy among older adults poses a barrier to self-care because it hampers comprehension of this information, particularly when the information is not well-designed. Our goal was to improve comprehension of online health information among older adults with hypertension who varied in health literacy abilities. Design and Methods: We identifed passages about hypertension self-care from credible websites (typical passages). We used a multi-faceted approach to redesign these passages, revising their content, language, organization and format (revised passages). Older participants read both versions of the passages at their own pace. After each passage, they summarized the passage and then answered questions about the passage. Results: Participants better remembered the revised than the typical passages, summarizing the passages more accurately and uptaking information more effciently (less reading time needed per unit of information remembered). The benefts for reading effciency were greater for older adults with more health knowledge, suggesting knowledge facilitated comprehension of information in the revised passages. Implications: A systematic, multi-faceted approach to designing health documents can promote online learning among older adults with diverse health literacy abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-695
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 13 2018


  • Domain knowledge
  • Health literacy
  • Hypertension
  • Intervention
  • Self-care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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