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Low health literacy is closely related to a higher rate of hospitalization and of emergency services usage, leading to billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs and contributing to individuals’ poor physical and mental health. While Korean Americans (KAs) have a high prevalence of general health and mental health problems, relatively little is known about their health and mental health literacy, specifically their depression literacy. This study aims to evaluate KAs’ health literacy and depression literacy, as related to sociodemographic characteristics. An exploratory study was conducted with 681 community-residing adult KAs using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale, the Depression Literacy Questionnaire (D-Lit), and the One-Question Health Literacy Scale. Data analyses were performed using one-way analysis of variance and ordinal logistic regression of health literacy, a multiple linear regression model of depression literacy. Findings indicate a positive correlation between depression literacy and health literacy. Health literacy was also significantly related to religion, English language proficiency, income, education, and perceived physical health. Additionally, depression literacy was significantly related to age, Korean language preference over English, and education. Health literacy and depression literacy education are warranted to address low health literacy and depression literacy among KAs to reduce their health and mental health disparities.


This article was originally published in Health Education & Behavior, vol. 47, no.3, Jun 2020 at doi:10.1177/1090198120907887



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