|Description||Background: Despite the relatively high prevalence of low health literacy among individuals living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), limited empirical attention has been paid to the cognitive and health literacy–related skills that can uniquely influence patients’ health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes.
Objective: The aim of this study was to examine how health literacy, electronic health (eHealth) literacy, and COPD knowledge are associated with both generic and lung-specific HRQoL in people living with COPD.
Methods: Adults from the COPD Foundation’s National Research Registry (n=174) completed a cross-sectional Web-based survey that assessed sociodemographic characteristics, comorbidity status, COPD knowledge, health literacy, eHealth literacy, and generic/lung-specific HRQoL. Hierarchical linear regression models were tested to examine the roles of health literacy and eHealth literacy on generic (model 1) and lung-specific (model 2) HRQoL, after accounting for socioeconomic and comorbidity covariates. Spearman rank correlations examined associations between ordinal HRQoL items and statistically significant hierarchical predictor variables.
Results: After adjusting for confounding factors, health literacy, eHealth literacy, and COPD knowledge accounted for an additional 9% of variance in generic HRQoL (total adjusted R2=21%; F9,164=6.09, P<.001). Health literacy (b=.08, SE 0.02, 95% CI 0.04-0.12) was the only predictor positively associated with generic HRQoL (P<.001). Adding health literacy, eHealth literacy, and COPD knowledge as predictors explained an additional 7.40% of variance in lung-specific HRQoL (total adjusted R2=26.4%; F8,161=8.59, P<.001). Following adjustment for covariates, both health literacy (b=2.63, SE 0.84, 95% CI 0.96-4.29, P<.001) and eHealth literacy (b=1.41, SE 0.67, 95% CI 0.09-2.73, P<.001) were positively associated with lung-specific HRQoL. Health literacy was positively associated with most lung-specific HRQoL indicators (ie, cough frequency, chest tightness, activity limitation at home, confidence leaving home, sleep quality, and energy level), whereas eHealth literacy was positively associated with 5 of 8 (60%) lung-specific HRQoL indicators. Upon controlling for confounders, COPD knowledge (b=−.56, SE 0.29, 95% CI −1.22 to −0.004, P<.05) was inversely associated with lung-specific HRQoL.
Conclusions: Health literacy, but not eHealth literacy, was positively associated with generic HRQoL. However, both health literacy and eHealth literacy were positively associated with lung-specific HRQoL, with higher COPD knowledge indicative of lower lung-specific HRQoL. These results confirm the importance of considering health and eHealth literacy levels when designing patient education programs for people living with COPD. Future research should explore the impact of delivering interventions aimed at improving eHealth and health literacy among patients with COPD, particularly when disease self-management goals are to enhance HRQoL.||en_US