Gender and health literacy: Men's health beliefs and behaviour in Trinidad

J. Wills, S. Sykes, S. Hardy, M. Kelly, C. Moorley, O. Ocho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Gender variations in health literacy have implications for engagement in preventive behaviours and the uptake of health services, especially in areas such as the Caribbean where there are marked disparities in life expectancy and health service utilization. A self-reported questionnaire was used to examine men's concepts of health, their help-seeking behaviours and their functional and interactive health literacy. Two hundred and forty-eight men across the life course participated at three sites in Trinidad. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, with free-text responses analysed thematically. Men were concerned about, and accepted responsibility for their own health but social norms concerning sickness and masculinity were barriers to accessing health services. Almost one-third (31.5%) sought advice from a healthcare service when they were last sick because they were prompted to do so by their wife/partner or family. Levels of functional and interactive health literacy were not high among older men, who were reliant on healthcare professionals to communicate health messages. There was an age divide in e-health literacy. There is little published evidence on men's health literacy, particularly from Caribbean countries such as Trinidad and Tobago. This study highlights the importance of the design and implementation of specific policies focusing on men's health. A major challenge is to engage with men who do not access health services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-811
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Promotion International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Caribbean
  • health literacy
  • interactive health literacy
  • men's health
  • Trinidad and Tobago

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