Employment Status and Health Literacy in Denmark: A Population-Based Study

Ida W Svendsen*, Maria B Damgaard*, Carsten Kronborg Bak, Henrik Bøggild, Christian Torp-Pedersen, Majbritt Tang Svendsen, Gabriele Berg-Beckhoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Objectives: Examining whether specific population groups who are not working and those who have an employment have the same health literacy level. Methods: Data were retrieved from a nationally representative cross-sectional study of the Danish population conducted with the health literacy questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q16) in 2016 and 2017. Socio-demographic characteristics were drawn from national registers. Odds ratio for the association between employment status and health literacy was estimated from logistic regression models, adjusted for socio-demographic characteristics. Probability weights were used to adjust for differences in responses. Results: Logistic regression analyses showed that receiving unemployment benefits, social assistance, employment and support allowance, retirement pension and sickness benefit were significantly associated with having inadequate health literacy compared to being employed in any industry. The highest odds ratio for inadequate health literacy was present for receiving unemployment benefit OR = 1.78 (95% CI: 1.23-2.56). Conclusion: Population groups not working and receiving economic public support have higher odds of inadequate health literacy competencies compared to those active in the labor force, considering age and socioeconomic factors. The result contributes to understanding health disparities in connection to occupational situation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number598083
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2021 Svendsen, Damgaard, Bak, Bøggild, Torp-Pedersen, Svendsen and Berg-Beckhoff.


  • Health Literacy
  • occupation
  • economic public support
  • Health Promotion
  • cross sectional study
  • register data
  • HLS-EU-Q16
  • Employment


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