All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Magdalena Szaflarski

Advisory Committee Members

Elizabeth Baker

Jerzy P Szaflarski

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2018

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

This exploratory study examined the impact of health literacy on quality of life (QoL) in persons with epilepsy (PWE). From the perspectives of cultural health capital and social disability theory, it was hypothesized that greater levels of health literacy would be associated with higher quality of life scores. The sample included patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy (TRE) enrolled in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Cannabidiol Program. Analyses included Pearson correlations, chi square, t-tests, and a nested linear regression model (alpha=0.1). The sample was composed of adult respondents (aged 19-63; n=79) and was 92% white with a mean age of 33; 44% of patients were in Special Education until age 21 and 29% report a total annual family income of less than $25,000. Significant bivariate relationships were found between health literacy and quality of life (p=.004), age (p=.0001), educational level (p<.0001), but negatively associated with income (p=.063). QoL was positively impacted by age (p=.095) and negatively associated with mood state (p=.059), and adverse effects (p=.096). The nested model showed health literacy has a significant positive effect on QoL where a 1% increase in health literacy is associated with a 6.61 point increase in QoL (p=.004) and this trend continued through each addition of independent factors and control variables. This is one of the first studies investigating the role of health literacy on QoL for persons with TRE. The results suggest that health literacy has a crucial role in QoL, perhaps functioning as a tool through which health care participation is expanded. Further research is needed with larger, more diverse, and longitudinal sample to accurately model the development of health literacy and its impact on QoL for persons with TRE.

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