Date of Conferral





Public Health


Cheryl L. Anderson


Health literacy is a social determinant of health and health disparity and low health literacy contributes to poor health outcomes in ethnic minority young adults (EMYAs). There is a gap in the literature regarding the health literacy readiness (HLR) of EMYAs transitioning to adulthood. The overarching research question concerned the perspectives of EMYAs on HLR for the transition to adulthood. A phenomenological study design was used with a theoretical framework that integrated concepts from the socioecological and health belief models. Twelve purposefully selected EMYAs ages 18-22 from a southern U.S. county participated in the study. Data were collected by telephone using semistructured interviews. The interview questions centered on EMYAs' self-assessed HLR for the transition to adulthood, attitudes and beliefs about HLR, barriers to and benefits from HLR, and facilitators of HLR for the transition to adulthood. Recorded data were transcribed and analyzed, spirally coded, and reduced into overarching themes. Three categories emerged: deficient acumen, access problems, and application challenges. Results showed that EMYAs viewed HLR as vital for the transition to adulthood, though 92% reported low HLR. EMYAs reported individual factors; available time and deficient knowledge; and social factors, family support, and deficient school education as influencing their HLR. The study findings revealed poor HLR in EMYAs but identified areas that can be targeted to improve HLR. Results may contribute to positive social change by providing health educators with knowledge they can use to enhance community health engagement strategies and develop culturally sensitive interventions aimed at improving HLR in EMYAs.