Using Teach-Back to Understand Participant Behavioral Self-Monitoring Skills Across Health Literacy Level and Behavioral Condition

Kathleen Porter, Yvonnes Chen, Paul Estabrooks, Lauren Noel, Angela Bailey, Jamie Zoellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess differences, by health literacy status and behavioral condition, in participants' abilities to self-monitor behaviors accurately and recall key behavioral messages using data from a teach-back call. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Rural, southwestern Virginia. Participants: Adults (n = 301). The majority were female (81.1%), 31.9% had a high school education or less, 66.1% earned < $25,000/y, and 32.9% were low health literate. Intervention: First class session of 2 community-based behavioral interventions: SIPsmartER (reduce sugar-sweetened beverage intake) or MoveMore (increase physical activity). Main Outcome Measures: Reported accuracy of behavioral diary completion, proportion of behavioral messages recalled during the first round of teach-back, and rounds of teach-back. Analysis: Descriptive statistics and generalized linear model. Results: Low health literate participants were significantly less accurate in diary completion ( P < .001), recalled fewer behavioral messages correctly (. P < .001), and needed more rounds of teach-back ( P < .001) than high health literate participants. Compared with SIPsmartER participants, MoveMore participants more accurately completed diaries ( P = .001) but recalled a lower proportion of behavioral messages correctly ( P < .001) and required more rounds of teach-back ( P < .001). Conclusions and Implications: Health literacy status and behavioral target affect the ability to self-monitor and recall key concepts. Researchers should consider using teach-back early in the intervention to assess and reinforce participants' ability to self-monitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-26.e1
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



  • Beverages
  • Health literacy
  • Physical activity
  • Self-report

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

Cite this