Utilizing a Multidimensional Health Literacy Framework to Assess Cervical Cancer Screening Nonadherence

Annalynn M. Galvin, Ashvita Garg, Sarah Matthes, Erika L. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Health literacy is an amenable factor that can improve screening uptake. However, associations between the multidimensional health literacy domains and cervical cancer screening nonadherence are not known and should be considered to improve screening rates. The current quantitative study assessed the associations of multiple health literacy domains with cervical cancer screening nonadherence. Women aged 30 to 65 years without a hysterectomy were surveyed online (N = 812). Assessing, understanding, and appraising measures from the European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire were adapted for cervical cancer screening. The outcome variable measured the application of cervical cancer information regarding adherence to the 2012 cervical cancer screening guidelines (yes/no). Adjusted logistic regression odds ratios (aORs) estimated nonadherence. Most of the women were non-Hispanic (81.4%) or White (68.1%), and aged 30 to 39 years (40%). The majority of the women (71%) were adherent to screening recommendations. The model with all domains of health literacy had the best model fit statistics compared with other models with different health literacy components. Older age and lack of insurance were statistically significant for screening nonadherence. Difficulty understanding health information (aOR = 3.15; 95% confidence interval [CI; 1.80, 5.51]) and less worry about cervical cancer (aOR = 1.74; 95% CI [1.03, 2.94]) were associated with higher odds of nonadherence. Higher cervical cancer knowledge (aOR = 0.93; 95% CI [0.87, 0.98]) and Hispanic ethnicity (aOR = 0.36; 95% CI [0.21, 0.61)] were associated with lower odds of nonadherence. Incorporating a multidimensional health literacy framework may better inform the need to develop easily understood interventions that address cervical cancer perceived vulnerability and acknowledge systemic sociodemographic influences on screening perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)710-718
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • cervical cancer prevention
  • cervical cancer screening
  • health literacy


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