Health literacy and decision making styles for complex antithrombotic therapy among older multimorbid adults. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of functional health literacy (FHL) on preferences for decision-making; and among those initially preferring a passive decision-making role, to explore how preferences change if their physician actively encourages their involvement. METHODS: Consecutive older adults with cardiovascular disease receiving complex antithrombotic therapy completed a comprehensive assessment including measures of FHL and preferences for shared decision making. RESULTS: Half of all participants had inadequate or marginal FHL. Those with inadequate FHL were more likely (P=0.01) to prefer passive rather than active decision making styles even after controlling for age, education, and numeracy. However, 40% of patients preferring passive styles had adequate FHL and these patients were significantly more likely to change their preference to more active styles (odds ratio=7.17, P<.01) if their physician "was more supportive or encouraged participation". CONCLUSIONS: Screening FHL can provide insight into patients' preferences for active participation in decision making. Clinicians' encouragement of participation can increase engagement by patients with adequate FHL. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: We propose an algorithm for screening FHL and preferences for participating in decisions about complex medication regimens.

published proceedings

  • Patient Educ Couns

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Naik, A. D., Street, R. L., Castillo, D., & Abraham, N. S.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Naik, Aanand D||Street, Richard L||Castillo, Diana||Abraham, Neena S

publication date

  • December 2011