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 period of the HLCA consortium. The aim of the subproject is to provide the first meaningful data on generic health literacy among adolescents aged 14 to 17 years, living in Germany, and to apply the scientific results obtained on health literacy among adolescents to a current public health problem, the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the HLCA network, the MOHLAA project contributes to a deeper understanding of the developmental conditions of health literacy in adolescence.

Project background

In the first funding period, the age-specific “Measurement of Health Literacy Among Adolescents-Questionnaire” (MOHLAA-Q) was developed and validated to assess generic health literacy among adolescents aged 14 to 17. In the current second funding period, the first survey on generic health literacy among adolescents aged 14 to 17 in Germany was conducted. For this purpose, the MOHLAA-Q was used in a representative nationwide online cross-sectional survey from September to December 2019. 1,235 adolescents answered the questionnaire. After publication of initial results about the distribution of health literacy and associations between health literacy and health behavior among adolescents in Germany, further data analysis is planned in 2022.

In response to the special challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for adolescents in terms of health literacy, online group discussions with adolescents on how to deal with information during the pandemic were conducted as a supplementary measure. The survey phase has been completed and the analysis and publication of the results of the discussion groups are planned for 2022.

With the MOHLAA-Q, research and practice in primary prevention and health promotion receive a multidimensional survey instrument for assessing generic health literacy among adolescents on a national and regional level, considering the specific cognitive, psychic, social and contextual requirements of adolescence. In the future, the MOHLAA-Q will allow to assess changes in the distribution of health literacy among adolescents as a result of measures to promote health literacy. The data obtained in the subproject MOHLAA 2 hereby provides comparative data from Germany for this purpose. It is hoped that numerous data on adolescent health literacy will become available in the future to enable the development of tailored local and community interventions to promote health literacy in families, schools, communities, and health care settings. The MOHLAA-Q could be used as a core module that could be supplemented by other survey instruments on specific health literacy topics (e.g. food literacy, physical literacy) or digital health literacy. Since the education system plays a central role in promoting health literacy among adolescents, the MOHLAA-Q should be supplemented by measurement instruments that capture health literacy at the organizational level (teaching, school personnel and organization, and the non-school environment) in the school setting.

Anne-Kathrin Mareike Loer
- Research Associate and Main Contact -
Robert Koch Institut, Berlin
Dr. Susanne Jordan
- Principle Investigator-
Robert Koch Institut, Berlin
Dr. Olga Domanska
- Research Associate -
Robert Koch Institut, Berlin