Date of Award


Document type


Degree Name

MSc by research (Master of Science by research)

First Supervisor

Dr Tom O'Connor


Health Literacy, Medication Adherence, Quality of Life.


Aim: To explore the impact of interventions targeted at health literacy on patient outcomes, medication adherence and health related quality of life.

Method: Systematic Review

Background: Health literacy has been identified as an essential competency for the maintenance of health and quality of life. Health literacy is an essential component of the skill base required of patients when they become ill and require professional intervention. Additionally, research suggests that an overwhelming 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed and that medication adherence or lack thereof, will have a greater impact on our future health than any specific medical treatment

Findings: Following a systematic search of the literature, seven studies were identified for inclusion in this review. Examination of the overall results identified that low health literacy levels do in fact negatively impact on a patients’ ability to adhere to medication instructions. Results also established a link between lack of medication adherence and reduced health related quality of life.

Conclusion: Patient’s with lower levels of health literacy have lower medication adherence and subsequently poorer heath related quality of life prospects.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

File Size

8,994 KB


A thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Science from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2014.