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Portuguese Journal of Public Health

Print version ISSN 2504-3137On-line version ISSN 2504-3145


BARROS, Ana; SANTOS, Helena  and  SANTOS-SILVA, Filipe. A Systematic Review of Health Literacy Measurement Instruments in Portugal. Port J Public Health [online]. 2022, vol.40, n.3, pp.172-187.  Epub Dec 31, 2022. ISSN 2504-3137.


Health literacy evaluation is considered a priority issue in the health literacy research field. The complexity of the multiple definitions of health literacy and the diversity of instruments to evaluate health literacy has become a challenge to the establishment of comparisons across different studies. This work aimed to provide a systematic literature review of the existing measurement instruments adapted or developed for different groups of the Portuguese population.


A comprehensive search of digital databases was conducted to systematize and understand the available knowledge about health literacy measurement in Portugal and to identify assessment tools and studies developed. The selection process was based on PRISMA guidelines.


A total of 17 publications were analysed regarding different aspects, which resulted in the identification of 11 different instruments, that were adapted or developed to measure health literacy in different groups of the Portuguese population, mainly adults, adolescents, and young adults. Seven instruments focusing on general health literacy (including e-health), 2 on mental health literacy, and the other 2 on oral health literacy were identified.


This study presents the first general overview of health literacy measurement in Portugal and clearly shows that to deepen our knowledge of health literacy in the Portuguese population it is essential to broaden the scope and the target of health literacy assessment to have a comprehensive understanding that will allow transforming our reality regarding health and disease.

Keywords : Health literacy; Measurement; Portugal.

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