The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of health literacy to make informed preventive decisions. A specific COVID-19 health literacy questionnaire (CHL-Q) is included in the COVID-19 Snapshot Monitoring WHO initiative to conduct behavioral insights studies related to COVID-19. The objective was to assess the psychometric properties of a Spanish version of the COVID-19 Health Literacy Questionnaire (CHL-Q).
Data quality, acceptability, internal consistency, and construct and structural validity were analyzed. A Rasch analysis was also performed. This cross-sectional, observational study was conducted on the Spanish general population after the first wave of the pandemic and after the end of the general lockdown by an online survey agency. 1033 participants (inclusion criteria were being 18 years or older and living in Spain), was extracted from a panel of approximately 982,000 participants. The sampling was stratified matching the Spanish general population in terms of age, gender, and area of residence. The CHL-Q includes 9 items and assesses people’s knowledge, motivation and competencies to access, understand, evaluate, and apply information about COVID-19 in order to make informed decisions.
CHL-Q index presented a mean of 33.89 (SD = 9.4), and good fit to the Rasch model (χ2(32) = 34.672, p = 0.342, person separation index = 0.77), with ordered thresholds, unidimensionality, item local independence, and no item bias by sex, age or education level. The CHL-Q showed significant different scores by level of education, experience of infection, confusion related to COVID-19 information and adherence to preventive measures. We found a statistically significant correlation between the CHL-Q index and the total number of preventive measures adopted, COVID-19 knowledge, and information seeking behaviour. The Cronbach´s alpha was 0.87 and the item total corrected correlation, 0.49–0.68.
The Spanish version of CHL-Q is a short, adequate, and reliable instrument to measure COVID-19 related health literacy in the Spanish general population. Measuring the CHL in the population can be useful to evaluate whether public authorities, media and the medical and scientific community have been able to reach the population to offer the information in the terms they need it.