Cognitive function and health literacy are independently associated with heart failure knowledge

Misty A.W. Hawkins, Mary A. Dolansky, Jennifer B. Levin, Julie T. Schaefer, John Gunstad, Joseph D. Redle, Richard Josephson, Joel W. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives Determine the relationship between cognitive function and health literacy in heart failure (HF) knowledge in patients with HF. Background HF requires extensive, complex treatment; thus, cognition and health literacy may contribute to understanding and self-management of HF. Methods Participants were 330 HF outpatients. Health literacy was assessed using the Medical Term Recognition Test and the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine. Global cognitive function was screened with the Modified Mini-Mental Status Examination. HF knowledge was assessed with the Dutch Heart Failure Knowledge Scale (DHFKS). Results Health literacy (β = .26, p < .001) and cognition (β = .36, p < .001) were related to DHFKS. Both scores were independently associated with DHFKS (health literacy: β = .13, p = .044 and cognition: β = .30, p < .001). Conclusions Impairments in health literacy and cognition were independently associated with reduced HF knowledge. Interventions should address both factors to be maximally effective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-391
Number of pages6
JournalHeart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive function
  • Health literacy
  • Heart failure
  • Knowledge
  • Neuropsychological testing


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