Constructing a grounded theory of young adult health literacy_J Shaw_Redacted.pdf (9.24 MB)

Constructing a grounded theory of young adult health literacy

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posted on 2023-11-02, 05:21 authored by Julie ShawJulie Shaw
The health literacy of young adults indicates their preparedness to manage their health. Health literacy is currently viewed from the perspective of health professionals and patients with two dominant perspectives being functional health literacy and public health/health promotion health literacy, both of which are known to improve health outcomes. A review of the literature identifies that young peoples’ perception of health is inconsistent as well, there is limited information on the health literacy of young adults. The rise of the consumer society in Western countries in the 1950s created the need for the health literacy of the broader population to be enhanced as individuals are being increasingly asked to make choices/decisions in the management of their lifestyle and health. The lifestyle and health management choices of young people impact their current and future health. The young adult health literacy study aimed to address this gap in knowledge and construct a theory of young adult health literacy. Charmaz's constructive grounded theory approach underpinned this study. Recruitment of participants involved purposive sampling and snowballing. Twelve young adults who met the inclusion criteria for this study were recruited. Data collection involved completion of a demographic questionnaire along with semi-structured face to face and group interviews. Transcribed data was analysed using Charmaz's grounded theory framework resulting in the construction of a theoretical model of health literacy. The constructed theory has a central theme of My Health representing the embodiment of health. There are four other themes which are interconnected, Learning about Health, Developing Meaningful Knowledge, Making Health Decisions representing empowerment of the young adult, and Context representing the dynamics of daily living. The theory accommodates for the diversity of young adults and its fluidity allows for movement within the model. The theory contributes to the clarification of health literacy as a construct; identifies the enablers and barriers of health literacy for young adults; provides a framework for education, health information, health professionals and health services to use in the further enhancement of young adults’ health, health management and health literacy; as well as provide a foundation for young adults in making health decisions in later life.



Central Queensland University

Additional Rights

Tthis thesis may be copied and distributed for private use and study, however, no chapter or materials of this thesis, in whole or in part, can be copied, cited or reprinted without the prior permission of the author and /or any reference fully acknowledged.

Open Access

  • Yes

Era Eligible

  • No


Associate Professor Anthony John Welch ; Professor Moira Jane Williamson

Thesis Type

  • Doctoral Thesis

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