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Health Communication Research Measures

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Edited By Do Kyun Kim and James W. Dearing

This volume presents state-of-the-art reporting on how to measure many of the key variables in health communication. While the focus is on quantitative measures, the editors argue that these measures are centrally important to the study of health communication. The chapters emphasize constructs, scales, and up-to-date reports and evidence about key social science constructs and ways of measuring them, whether your interest is in patient-provider dyadic communication, uncertainty management, self-efficacy, disclosure, social norms, social support, risk perception, health care team performance, message design and effects, health and numerical literacy, communication satisfaction, social influence and persuasion, stigma, health campaigns, reactance, or other topics. Students, researchers, and policymakers will find this book an accessible resource for planning and reviewing research studies and proposals.
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24. Subjective Numeracy

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24. Subjective Numeracy

KERK F. KEE,Chapman University& YUHUA (JAKE) LIANG,Chapman University

Numeracy is the ability to understand numerical information. This specific ability is critical to comprehending health information as well as weighing the risks and benefits of medical treatment options. Numerical information is often used in decision aids designed to empower patients in shared decision-making, especially when they are asked to consent to a medical procedure that involves calculated risks and benefits. Patients may evaluate quantitative data such as survival likelihood, treatment success rates, complication rates, and comparative procedural statistics, among others.

However, difficulty in understanding numerical risk information can lead to treatment decisions that do not align with patients’ goals. Such a misalignment can possibly lead to a lower level of perceived provider satisfaction. Physicians and patients both succeed in sharing the decision-making process only when patients can fully comprehend the medical information they receive, and then apply it to choose the treatment option that is most compatible with their personal goals and/or values.

Numeracy presents a systemic challenge for effective health communication, especially for many Americans with low numeracy. About “22% of Americans scored in the lowest 2 levels for quantitative literacy, a performance level that corresponds to having the ability to solve only single-operation arithmetic problems (e.g., what is the difference in cost between 2 items?)” (Fagerlin et al., 2007, p. 672). Furthermore, Lipkus and colleagues (2001) informed us that...

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