Associations between Self-medication, Health Literacy, and Self-perceived Health Status: A Community-Based Study

Aziz Kamran, Gholamreza Sharifirad, Yousef Shafaeei, Siamak Mohebi


Background: Although the frequency of self-medication has been well-documented in the public health literature, but no study has examined the relationship between health literacy and selfmedication yet. This study was aimed to investigating the relationship between health literacy and self-medication in a community-based study.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 924 adults to survey association between health literacy and self-medication among peoples in Ardabil city in 2014 who were selected using a multistage random sampling method. Health literacy was measured by the test of functional health literacy
in adults and general health status was measured by the 12-item General Health Questionnaire, and self-reported self-medication (overall, sedative, antibiotic and herbal) in last 3 months was assessed. All statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS version 18 and a P < 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: The mean age and weight of respondents were 37 years and 74.7 kg, respectively. The prevalence of self-medication was 61.6%, and the percentage of self-administering antibiotics, sedative, and herbal medicines were 40%, 54.4%, and 59.1% in the last 3 months, respectively.
Significant relationship was found between of total health literacy and general health status with self-medication. The prevalence of self-medication among participants with poor and very poor self-rated physical and mental health was significantly higher than other participants (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Self-medication had a significant relationship with health literacy and health status. Therefore, the design and implementation of training programs are necessary to increase the perception on the risk of self-medication.

Keywords: Health literacy, health status, self-medication

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