The Role of Distributed Health Literacy in Asthma Integrated Care: A Public Medical Context from Portugal

  • Abreu L
  • Nunes J
  • Taylor P
  • et al.
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Background: Improvements in asthma integrated care might be achieved through in-depth knowledge about how health literacy is dispersed through a group. This study intends to map out health literacy mediators (those who makes his/her literacy skills available to others for them to accomplish specific literacy purposes) and how they enable self-management skills in patients with asthma. Methods: Twenty interviews were conducted in a Primary Care Center of Porto using the McGill Illness Narrative Interview. Data were thematically analyzed as case-based and process-tracing-oriented. Results: Interviewees with a dense network of mediators revealed a low impact of asthma on their lives, dependence on primary care physician for instrumental support and dependence on family members to provide emotional/pragmatic support. Interviewees who relied on a restricted network of mediators (belonging to formal sources of health services and providing informational support) described episodes of crisis as disruptive and demonstrated a reactive approach to self-management skills. Conclusions: The roles performed by core health mediators (health professionals, family/friends, media) in support of asthma management varied according to patients' narratives of minimization/disruption, connected to dense/restricted social networks. To clarify the boundaries of responsibility-shifting and to enrich support provided by formal sources of health services and peer education groups is needed.




Abreu, L., Nunes, J. A., Taylor, P., & Silva, S. (2018). The Role of Distributed Health Literacy in Asthma Integrated Care: A Public Medical Context from Portugal. International Journal of Integrated Care, 18(2).

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