Improving the Health Literacy and Self-Efficacy of Disadvantaged Youth

At a Glance
Project at a Glance: 
  • Status: Active
  • Launch: Summer 2013
  • Funding Agencies: Center for Public Service Communications
  • Team: Mega Subramaniam, Beth St. Jean, Natalie Greene Taylor & Rebecca Follman 
  • Mission: To increase the interest of middle school students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the health sciences and to improve their ability to look for and evaluate health-related information, their health-related literacy and self-efficacy, and their ultimate health outcomes
  • Target Population: Disadvantaged tweens (youth aged 11 to 13) attending selected Title I middle schools.
  • Website:

This project will investigate ways to increase tweens’ interest in the health sciences, their health-related literacy and self-efficacy, their ability to look for and evaluate health-related information, and their ultimate health outcomes.


Preliminary Research Questions:

(1) How do tweens go about looking for and evaluating health-related information online and how do they perceive the various health-related resources available online?

(2) How can we best teach tweens to look for and evaluate health-related information online?

(3) What role can school library programs play in teaching and facilitating health information seeking and evaluation skills in tweens?

(4) What role can an afterschool program that focuses on developing health-related information-seeking skills in tweens play in improving their health literacy and increasing their interest in health sciences?

(5) To what extent can we improve tweens’ health-related self-efficacy by increasing their health literacy?

(6) To what extent can improved health literacy and improved health self-efficacy lead to better health-related decisions and positive health behavior changes in tweens?


For more information, please visit the project's official website