Use of theory in low-literacy intervention research from 1980 to 2009

Lorraine S. Wallace, Cynthia J. Vaughn, Edwin S. Rogers, Connie F. Rust, Jennifer E. DeVoe, Barry D. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine whether theories and/or models are used in interventions geared towards improving health-related outcomes for individuals with limited literacy skills. Methods: Intervention studies (n=52) published between 1980 and 2009 that met inclusion criteria were reviewed to assess the topic addressed, type of theory and/ or model used, and the extent of theory use. Results: Twenty-one (40.4%) interventions were based on a theory or model. Most of those 21 interventions were either "informed by" (n=15, 71.4%) or "applied" (n=4, 19.1%) theory whereas 2 (9.5%) "tested" theory. Conclusions: Most low-literacy intervention research is not based on any educational, behavioral, or social science theory or model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of health behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • Behavioral models
  • Health behavior
  • Health literacy
  • Intervention
  • Literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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