Methods: Surveys were sent via email to households in Mexico where there was a parent/guardian and a 14-17-year-old youth. The final sample consisted of data from 373 parent-child dyads (total N = 746), with data coming from participants living in each Mexican state. Demographic measures, parent-child relationship measures, and various health instruments were administered. Due to the limitations of most health literacy measures and the lack of a recognized gold standard instrument (particularly among youth), multiple health literacy instruments were administered, including single-item measures, the HLS Q-12, and the AAHLS.
Results: Regression analyses suggest that parent health literacy was significantly related to adolescent health using the single-item measure (b = 0.42, p < .001), the HLS Q-12 (b = 0.48, p < .001), and the functional (b = 0.31, p < .001), communicative (b = 0.37, p < .001), and critical (b = 0.17, p < .001) domains of the AAHLS. Parent HL was also associated with various youth health outcomes and behaviors, including alcohol use (OR = 0.76, p < .05), cigarette use (OR = 0.63, p < .01), marijuana use (OR = 0.54, p < .001), a single-item global measure of overall health (b = 0.12, p < .05), child quality of life (b = 3.99, p < .05), and ever having sex (OR = 0.56, p < .01).
Conclusions and Implications: The World Health Organization reports that in 2019, Latin America had one of the highest mortality rates in the world for persons ages 10-24 years. Among this age group, drug use is listed among the leading causes of death, making research regarding the factors that impact adolescent health behaviors critical. This study not only suggests that parent health literacy is related to child health in MX, but that it is also related to various health behaviors and outcomes such as substance use, sexual behavior, and quality of life. Understanding this critical connection could be a major boost to public health officials as they seek to promote health classes and educational campaigns that could increase community health literacy. Further research on HL in MX may offer additional insights as to how to best promote adolescent health literacy and prevent negative health behaviors