This chapter compares the conceptual foundations of health literacy and health disparities. It details some of the conceptual differences between health literacy and health disparities and explains some similarities that suggest the need for increased research collaboration. The chapter is among the first to address the structural and social determinants of health together and explain that future research needs to assess their interactions.
Overall, the chapter creates a conceptual foundation as well as challenges future scholars/practitioners to take more multidimensional approaches to assess health's determinants. The chapter also attempts to demonstrate there is nothing more practical than good theory, or clear conceptual foundations.
The chapter is divided into four sections that address the following topics: three conceptual frameworks about the determinants of health; opportunities in health disparities and health literacy research; seeking an expanded, multidimensional conceptual approach to health literacy and health disparities research; as well as a conclusion. The chapter suggests there are vacuums in current research knowledge that need future attention – especially regarding the integration of health literacy and health disparities research.
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