Health Literacy and People with Intellectual Disabilities: What We Know, What We Do Not Know, and What We Need: A Theoretical Discourse.


Department of Nursing and Health, Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Interaktion 1, 33619 Bielefeld, Germany. [Email]


Although health literacy is widely discussed and many heterogeneous conceptualizations exist, people with intellectual disabilities have remained largely unconsidered. The purpose of this conceptual paper is to analyze the particularities of this target group and discuss and consider implications that arise when conceptualizing the health literacy of people with intellectual disabilities. Therefore, we explore relevant approaches from multiple disciplines and examine their transferability to a conceptual understanding of health literacy for people with intellectual disabilities. For future directions we identified three main dimensions: (1) disentangle health literacy from empowerment; (2) apply a positive, asset-based focus to health literacy; and (3) focus on health literacy as a distributed resource across individuals and their individual life-world.


decision-making,health information,health literacy,intellectual disabilities,

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