An exploration of the association between literacy and mental health care and outcomes.

Hunn, Lucy (2022) An exploration of the association between literacy and mental health care and outcomes. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of 2022HunnLClinPsyD.pdf]
Download (1MB) | Preview


Purpose: Prior research has suggested a relationship between literacy difficulties and poorer physical health outcomes. Yet there has been far less attention paid to the impact of literacy difficulties on mental health. The overall aim of this thesis portfolio was to explore the association between literacy difficulties in adults and mental health outcomes and practice considerations.

Design: A systematic review of the literature was used to establish the reported relationship between literacy abilities and mental health outcomes. A narrative synthesis drew conclusions from the literature around this relationship and the associated mediating factors. An empirical research project used semi-structured interviews with mental health clinicians to explore qualitatively how the relationship between literacy and mental health may impact on an individual’s access to, and experience of mental health services. This research had a focus on how practitioners view person-centred care in people with literacy difficulties.

Results: The systematic review suggests that there is a relationship between poorer literacy levels and poorer mental health outcomes across a range of countries and mental health presentations. The narrative synthesis also identified potential mediating factors within this association, including age, gender, education level, and poverty. Within the empirical research project, five superordinate themes were extracted from the nine interviews: Intersectionality, clinician attitude, humanistic approach, service provision, and social inequality.

Conclusions: The findings from this portfolio indicate that literacy is an important social determinant of mental health, which has significant implications for clinical practice. It also highlights the potential impact of society’s views of those with literacy difficulties and the associated internalised stigma and social inequalities. Furthermore, it demonstrates how clinician awareness and responsiveness to literacy difficulties can help support the delivery of person-centred care in line with current NHS priorities.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2022 08:35
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 08:35


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item