Measurement of Health Literacy Among Adolescents – Part 2


The subproject “Measuring of Health Literacy Among Adolescents – Part 2”, briefly named MOHLAA 2, is the continuation of the sub-project MOHLAA from the first funding phase of the HLCA consortium.  MOHLAA 2 is the first survey that will be conducted on general health literacy of adolescents aged 14 to 17 in Germany. For this purpose: (1.) The health literacy measurement tool that was developed and validated in the first funding period of the MOHLAA subproject will be tested with regard to the application of adolescents with migration background and, if necessary be adapted (adaptation). This is followed (2.) by a Germany-wide survey using the MOHLAA tool with 14-17-year-old adolescents (data collection). The data collected there (3.) will be analyzed in depth in order to make valid statements about the distribution of health literacy among adolescents in Germany (results and dissemination).


Project background

In the second funding period, we will use the new measurement tool of the MOHLAA subproject to provide the first data in Germany on the distribution of generic health literacy in the adolescent population. The MOHLAA tool will be the first comprehensive measurement tool specifically developed and adapted for adolescents aged 14 to 17 in Germany. For this purpose, we aim at the following three main goals.

  1. Testing, further development and, if necessary, the adaptation of the MOHLAA measurement tool from the first funding period for young people with a migration background.
  2. Application of the MOHLAA measurement tool for the first survey across Germany on general health literacy among 14 to 17-year-olds adolescents.
  3. Providing data on the distribution of general health literacy among young people in Germany through descriptive and deepened analysis and dissemination of the results.

Since about 30% of young people (15-20-year-olds) in Germany have a migration background, the new tool that we developed in the first funding period should be examined before being applied in a population-based survey across Germany in regard to its applicability for young people with migration background. In order to achieve the first study goal we will apply qualitative methods, such as focus groups and cognitive interviews with young people with migration background. If necessary, we will revise single items or add new items to the MOHLAA tool. In the second phase based on a random sample, 1,000 young people will be surveyed by use of a multi-mode approach (web/paper pencil) concerning health information and health.

With the validated MOHLAA measurement tool available at the end of the second funding period and the data collected on the distribution of health literacy among adolescents, research and practice in primary prevention and health promotion will receive a tool for conducting further surveys on health literacy among young people at national and regional levels. Thus, the MOHLAA tool should in future also be able to reflect the changes in the distribution of health literacy among young people affected by measures to support health literacy skills. Our project will be able to provide comparative data from Germany. further data on young people’s health literacy, which we hope will be available in the future, will make it possible to develop tailor-made local and municipal measures to promote health literacy in families, schools, communities and health care systems. The MOHLAA measurement tool could be used as a core module that can be supplemented by other measurement instruments on specific health topics.

By measuring and improving the health literacy of young populations – we also tackle the issue of health inequalities. Our data will be used to identify vulnerable groups. With the findings of the MOHLAA 2, particularly the cooperation with the HL-Kids-NRW subproject, the HLCA consortium will contribute to a deeper understanding of health literacy in adolescence.

Olga Domanska
Research Associate and Main Contact
Robert Koch Institut, Berlin
Susanne Jordan
Principle Investigator
Robert Koch Institut, Berlin
Anne-Kathrin Loer
Scientific Assistant
Robert Koch Institut, Berlin
Former research memberChristiane Firnges, Christian Gojdka
Former research assisstantDaniel Männlein, Magdalena Tanzer