Health Literacy in Adolescents With Sickle Cell Disease

Elizabeth L. Perry, Patricia A. Carter, Heather A. Becker, Alexandra A. Garcia, Michael Mackert, Karen E. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Purpose To evaluate health literacy in a cohort of 75 adolescents with sickle cell disease (SCD). Design and Methods This cross-sectional, descriptive correlational study included assessment of demographic measures and appraisal of data resulting from completion of the REALM-Teen and Newest Vital Sign (NVS) instruments by 75 Black, non-Hispanic adolescents with SCD. Convenience sampling was utilized. Inclusion criteria were a diagnosis of one of the four primary genotypes of SCD and age 10–19 years. Results Thirty-seven males and 38 females were recruited for the study. Their mean age was 14.7 years (SD = 2.2; range 8.1). Their grade level ranged from 4 to 12 (mean 8.7; SD = 2.2). Scores on the REALM-Teen ranged from 12 to 66 (mean 53.7; SD = 12.8). Scores on the NVS ranged from 0 to 6 (mean 2.37; SD = 1.33). These health literacy scores were lower using both the REALM-Teen and the NVS instruments when compared to scores in all healthy adolescents and adults. Current grade level and health literacy scores showed a moderately high positive correlation (r = 0.52, p < 0.01). Health literacy scores were also significantly positively correlated with age (r = 0.49, p < 0.01) and income (r = 0.37, p < 0.01). Conclusions Health literacy in adolescents with SCD is suboptimal. Future research should include identifying facilitators and barriers to health literacy levels in a larger cohort of adolescents with SCD. Practice Implications Health literacy is a potential facilitator of successful health outcomes for all adolescents. This study lays a solid foundation for future adolescent health literacy initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatric Nursing
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Health literacy
  • Literacy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Health Literacy in Adolescents With Sickle Cell Disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this