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34 Death literacy in the UK– benchmarking levels of death literacy and validating a new measure
  1. Lisa Graham-Wisener1,
  2. Paul Toner1,
  3. Rosemary Leonard2,
  4. Debbie Horsfall2 and
  5. Jenny Groarke3
  1. 1Centre for Improving Health-Related Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Queen’s University, Belfast, Belfast BT7 1NN
  2. 2School of Social Sciences, Translational Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Penrith NSW 2751
  3. 3School of Psychology, National University Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland H91 TK33


Introduction A key construct within the public health approach to palliative care is ‘death literacy’. Death literacy can be defined as ‘the knowledge and skills that people need to make it possible to gain access to, understand, and make informed choices about end of life and death care options’. The newly developed 29-item Death Literacy Index (DLI; Leonard et al, 2020) can be used to determine levels of death literacy across multiple contexts, including at a community/national level, and to evaluate the outcome of different public health interventions.

Aims The DLI is the first rigorously developed measure of the construct of death literacy, which is a key outcome for new public health approaches to palliative care (a priority public health area). The current study aims to provide a benchmark of death literacy in a representative UK sample and the first validation of the DLI.

Method A large nationally representative sample of 399 participants, stratified by age, gender and ethnicity, were prospectively recruited via an online crowdsourcing platform. The factor structure of the DLI will be investigated using CFA. Internal consistency of subscales will be assessed, and construct validity will be. Descriptive statistics will be used to provide median score & range on the DLI and subscales.

Results The psychometric properties of the DLI will be presented to provide an indication of whether the DLI performs adequately for use in the UK general population. Benchmarked values of the DLI will also be presented for use in a UK general population sample.

Conclusion The DLI could have application in evaluating new public health approaches to palliative care across the UK. This will help address the dearth of formally evaluated interventions in this area.

Impact The impact of this research may involve supporting high-quality research to further develop public health approaches.

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