Jennifer A. Manganello*, Kimberly F. Colvin, Deena J. Chisolm, Connie Arnold, Jill Hancock, and Terry Davis



BACKGROUND: This study was designed to develop and validate a brief adolescent health literacy assessment tool (Rapid Estimate of Adolescent Literacy in Medicine Short Form [REALM-TeenS]).
METHODS: We combined datasets from 2 existing research studies that used the REALM-Teen (n = 665) and conducted an item response theory analysis. The correlation between scores on the original 66-item REALM-Teen and the proposed REALM-TeenS was calculated, along with the decision consistency across forms with respect to grade level assignment of each adolescent and coefficient α. The proposed REALM-TeenS was validated with original REALM-Teen data from a third independent study (n = 174).
RESULTS: Items with the largest discriminations across the scale, from low to high health literacy, were selected for inclusion in REALM-TeenS. From those, a set of 10 items was selected that maintained a reasonable level of SE across ability estimates and correlated highly (r = 0.92) with the original REALM-Teen scores. The coefficient α for the 10-item REALM-TeenS was .82. There was no evidence of model misfit (root mean square error of approximation < 0.001). In the validation sample, REALM-TeenS scores correlated highly with scores on the original REALM-Teen (r = 0.92), and the decision consistency across both forms was 80%. In pilot testing, administration took ∼20 seconds.
CONCLUSIONS: The REALM-TeenS offers researchers and clinicians a brief validated screening tool that can be used to assess adolescent health literacy in a variety of settings. Scoring guidelines ensure that reading level assessment is appropriate by age and grade.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates, Affiliates, and Staff