Associations between Working Memory, Health Literacy and Recall of the Warning Signs of Stroke Among Older Adults
AuthorGanzer, Christine Anne
AdvisorInsel, Kathleen C.
Committee ChairInsel, Kathleen C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractOlder adults constitute a growing population in the United States. A disproportionate percentage of this population experience chronic illnesses and need to recall information important to prevent complications of illness and to self-manage their condition. One example of the need to retain information is to recall the risk factors for ischemic stroke to prevent the damaging effects of stroke.Factors that could influence the recall of health information include age-related changes in cognition, specifically working memory capacity. Research supports that older adults have working memory capacity limitations. Older adults may also experience low health literacy that in combination with declines in working memory could further influence recall of health information.The purpose of this study was to describe the predictive relationships of working memory capacity and health literacy on the recall of the warning signs of stroke in a sample of older community dwelling elders.Fifty-six participants, ranging in age from 68-99 years of age (M= 80 years of age) were recruited from two sites, a Senior Center and Retirement Residence. A brochure published by the American Heart and Stroke Association, "Let's Talk About Stroke" was the tool used to deliver the health information regarding the five warning signs of stroke. Personal factors including demographic and medical variables were collected in this study. Working Memory was assessed using the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale III, Working Memory Index (WMI). Health literacy was determined using the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (STOFHLA). Participants were asked to recall the health information they were asked to read regarding the five warning signs of stroke at the conclusion of the study visit.Findings indicated that the key variables working memory and health literacy were independently and positively correlated to recall (p < .01); however, regression analysis did not demonstrate an interaction between the two key variables and recall.The findings from this study explore the associations between working memory, health literacy and personal factors and support that these key predictors may be related to the older adults ability to successfully recall health information.