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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Robin J Jacobs, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, 3701 Kirby Drive, Suite 600, MS: BCM700, Houston, TX 77098, USA, Tel +1 713 798 1090, Fax +1 832 787 1307, Email rjjacobs@bcm.edu

The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.


Research Funding:

This study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health/Office of Health and Human Services (R56 HL096578 05A1).


  • health disparities
  • older adults
  • resilience
  • computer interventions
  • computer interventions
  • multimorbidity

A qualitative study examining health literacy and chronic illness self-management in Hispanic and non-Hispanic older adults


Journal Title:

Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare


Volume Volume 10


, Pages 167-177

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Purpose: Chronic illness and low levels of health literacy affect health outcomes for many individuals, particularly older adults and racial/ethnic minorities. This study sought to understand the knowledge, strengths, and areas of need regarding self-management of chronic illness in order to lay the groundwork for content development of an intervention to increase health literacy and maximize patient engagement in chronic disease self-care. Patients and methods: In-depth, qualitative interviews were conducted in Spanish and English with 25 older adults with various chronic illnesses. Topics included knowledge and understanding of chronic conditions, medications, and disease self-management skills. Qualitative data were coded by searching text and conducting cross-case analysis. An inductive analysis was then employed to allow for the patterns and themes to emerge. Results: Emerged themes included 1) social support, 2) coping strategies, 3) spirituality, 4) chronic disease health literacy, 5) anger, and 6) depression. While participants had a general overall knowledge of chronic illness, they had deficits in knowledge regarding their own illnesses and medications. Conclusion: Chronic illness self-management is a complex and dynamic behavioral process. This study identified themes that leverage patient motivation to engage in self-care in a personalized manner. This information will guide the development of an intervention to promote health literacy and optimal disease self-management.

Copyright information:

© 2017 Jacobs et al.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/).

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