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  • Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy Research [ICHL]

    © Universität Bielefeld

HLS-COVID-19: Corona-related health literacy in the population


The aim of this project is to assess coronavirus-related health literacy in the German population (16 years and older) at two measurement time points in 2020. The planned survey follows on from the first HLS-COVID-19 survey conducted by Bielefeld University in March/April 2020 shortly after the various public health measures for infection control and prevention came into force.

The results of the survey show that 51% of the German population finds it difficult to very difficult to understand, evaluate and apply health-related information and recommendations from the authorities and media on the topic of coronavirus in their everyday lives. Especially the assessment of trustworthiness and reliability was perceived as difficult and entailed uncertainties. Overall, however, they felt that the German population was well provided with information on the coronavirus. At the same time, this reflects the information situation, because after brief initial difficulties, a great deal of information was provided with the most important messages for preventing coronavirus infection and the political measures taken. As the March/April survey shows, the information measures initially reached the population well. In the meantime, another phase in the pandemic has begun with the so-called relaxations, in which new information about the stockpile or the successive new regulations of measures, which vary regionally, are always required. However, it remains to be seen whether and how these will be received and understood by the population. At the same time, the relaxations raise the question of whether people's own preventive behavior will also be "relaxed," which is likely to lead to counterproductive developments. In addition, the pandemic is accompanied by an infodemic, a flood of correct and incorrect information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 that is spreading rapidly on the Internet, social media, and other digital communication channels. In particular, dis- and misinformation pose a particular threat.

Coronavirus-related health literacy helps distinguish between dis- and misinformation and the correct information, which in turn is central to the success of public health interventions. Therefore, this project addresses the question of how trust in coronavirus-related information has developed in the meantime and what influence this in turn has on prevention behavior or the handling of the new health risk and what health policy consequences arise from this. To bring this into experience is the topic of the planned, here requested survey waves, which are to be extended therefore by questions to the real health and prevention behavior.

In addition, it is planned to integrate a comparison of the German-speaking countries into the study in order to be able to derive further findings relevant to health science and politics.

Cooperation partner

Gesundheit Österreich GmbH (Prof. Dr. Jürgen Pelikan,; Dr. Robert Griebler,, Bereich: Gesundheit und Gesellschaft, Gesundheit Öster-reich GmbH, Stubenring 6, 1010 Wien, T +43 1 515 61-177)

Bundesminister für Soziales, Gesundheit, Pflege und Konsumentenschutz (Dr. Christina Dietscher), Stubenring 1, 1010 Wien

Careum Stiftung Zürich (Dr. Saskia Gehrig,, Bereich: Gesundheitskompetenz, Careum, Pestalozzistrasse 3, CH-8032 Zürich, T +41 43 222 64 29)

Funded by (1. Wave)

Funded by (2. and 3. wave)

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