Variable Details

Available Studies

ROS, MAP, MARS, Clinical Core

Scaled? 

Not Scaled

Variable Type 

Longitudinal

Variable Name 

literacy_total_pct

Categories

Decision Making and Behavioral Economics

Literacy total
Total health and financial literacy percent

Total health and financial literacy is assessed with a series of questions designed to measure knowledge of health and financial information and concepts, and numeracy. There are 9 items on health literacy and 23 items on financial literacy, many of which are adapted for use in older persons (by simplifying some wording) from the Health and Retirement Survey. See descriptions for health literacy and financial literacy for more information.

All answer choices are multiple choice or true/false with only one correct answer. Thus each item is scored as correct or incorrect. Due to the difference in number of items, health and financial literacy sub-scores are expressed as the percentage correct out of total items. The total literacy score is the average of the two sub-scores.

Participants are asked the following questions on health literacy (#1-9) and financial literacy (10-32):

  1. What is Medicare?
    A private health insurance plan for persons aged 65 or older; A government-run health insurance plan for persons aged 65 or older or younger persons with permanent disabilities; A government-run health insurance plan for any person who cannot afford health insurance
  2. Medicare Part D covers which of the following?
    Inpatient hospital services; Outpatient physician services: Prescription drug benefits
  3. Medicare routinely covers costs associated with extended long-term care such as nursing home care lasting more than 1 month.
    True; False
  4. Suppose your doctor has given you a new prescription with the following instructions: Take 2 pills twice daily with food for 7 days. Which of these choices represents the BEST way for you to take this medicine?
    Take 2 pills when you wake up and 2 before bed; Take 2 pills daily for 7 days; Take 2 pills with breakfast and 2 with dinner for 7 days
  5. You go to see your doctor and he recommends you get your flu vaccine. He tells you that the flu is the most common cause of death in older people but warns that there is a 1 in 100,000 chance that you will develop a life-threatening complication if you get the vaccine. Would you get the vaccination?
    Yes; No
  6. Please name the 3 leading causes of heart disease and stroke that are treatable with medication (questions 6-8).
    [Mentions high blood pressure/hypertension]
  7. Please name the 3 leading causes of heart disease and stroke that are treatable with medication (questions 6-8).
    [Mentions high cholesterol]
  8. Please name the 3 leading causes of heart disease and stroke that are treatable with medication (questions 6-8).
    [Mentions diabetes]
  9. Your doctor offers you two drugs. Drug A has a 1 in 100 chance of death. Drug B has a 99 in 100 chance of survival. Which one is more risky?
    Drug A; Drug B; They are equally risky
  10. A mutual fund is an investment that holds what?
    Only stocks; Only bonds; Stocks AND bonds
  11. When interest rates go up, what do bond prices do?
    Go down; Go up; Stay the same
  12. Buying a single company stock usually provides a better return than a stock mutual fund.
    True; False
  13. An older person with $100,000 to invest should hold riskier financial investments than a younger person with $100,000 to invest.
    True; False
  14. Using money in a bank account to pay off credit card debt is usually wise.
    True; False
  15. To make money in the stock market, you have to buy and sell stocks often.
    True; False
  16. What do the initials FDIC stand for?
    [Mentions federal]
  17. What do the initials FDIC stand for?
    [Mentions deposit]
  18. What do the initials FDIC stand for?
    [Mentions insurance]
  19. What do the initials FDIC stand for?
    [Mentions corporations]
  20. What does the FDIC do?
    Approves new drugs for clinical use; Protects the funds people or depositors place in banks and savings institutions; Underwrites mortgages and other loans
  21. Stocks and mutual funds generally produce higher average returns above inflation compared to fixed-income investments such as bonds.
    True; False
  22. Which of these percentages represents the biggest risk of getting a disease?
    1%; 10%; 5%
  23. A store is offering 15% off a television that is normally priced at $1000. How much money would you save on the TV during this sale?
    $15; $150; $1500
  24. If a television set is on sale for $899, which is $200 off its normal price, what is the normal price?
    $699; $1099; $1299
  25. If 5 people all have the winning numbers in the lottery and the prize is $2 million, how much will each of them win?
    $200,000; $400,000; $600,000
  26. If the chance of getting a disease is 10 percent, how many people out of 1,000 would be expected to get the disease?
    100; 10; 90; 900
  27. Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?
    More than $102; Exactly $102; Less than $102
  28. Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account is 1% per year and the inflation is 2% per year. After 1 year, will you be able to buy _______ with the money in your account.
    More than today; Exactly the same as today; Less than today
  29. Again, suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2% per year. After 5 years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow?
    More than $110; Exactly $110; Less than $110
  30. Imagine you receive a gift of $10,000. If you were to invest the money on your own for the next 5 years, what % on average do you think you could earn per year?
    [Percentage - 10% or less]
  31. Again, imagine you receive a gift of $10,000. If you were to invest the money in a government bond, what % on average do you think you could earn per year?
    [Percentage - 6% or less]
  32. Again, imagine you receive a gift of $10,000. If you were to invest the money in a mutual fund, what % on average do you think you would earn per year?
    [Percentage - 10% or less]

Note: In preliminary analyses, Chronbach coefficient alpha, an indicator of internal consistency, was 0.8 for the total literacy score.


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