The association between health literacy (HL) and health outcomes, including self-perceived health (SPH) has been well documented. Yet the complexity of this association is not yet completely clear. Drawing on the Health Literacy Scale (HLS) study in Israel, we examined the association between HL, Internal Health Locus of Control (IHLOC) and SPH among Jews and Arabs. A face-to-face survey was conducted among 242 Arabs and 358 Jews. The questionnaire measured SPH, IHLOC and two measures of HL: a European HLScale (HLS-EU-16) and the Hebrew/Arabic Health Literacy Test (H/AHLT), based on the Short Test Of Functional Health Literacy in Adults. Analysis included multivariable logistic regressions and bootstrapping to identify mediation effects.

 Among Jews, IHLOC seems to be a significant mediator between HL and SPH. IHLOC was strongly associated with SPH (OR = 6.13; CI = 3.2, 11.8), while HL was not significantly associated directly with SPH. Similar results were observed when using the H/AHLT as a measure of HL. Among Arabs a different pattern emerges; IHLOC was neither associated with SPH nor was it a mediator of the association between HL and SPH. The two measures of HL seem to have different associations with SPH among Arabs, as only H/AHLT was associated significantly with SPH, and not HLS-EU-16. Thus, those with higher levels of IHLOC assess their health as better than those with low IHLOC only among Jews, and not among Arabs. IHLOC seems to be a significant mediator between HL and SPH among some cultures. Among Arabs, only functional HL seems to be positively associated with SPH,

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