TitleDevelopment and Validation of an Environmental Health Literacy Assessment Screening Tool for Domestic Well Owners: The Water Environmental Literacy Level Scale (WELLS).
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsIrvin, VL, Rohlman, D, Vaughan, A, Amantia, R, Berlin, C, Kile, ML
JournalInt J Environ Res Public Health
Date Published03/2019

In the U.S., privately owned wells are not subject to any regulatory testing requirements. Well owners must have sufficient environmental health literacy (EHL) to understand and interpret information that contain complex terms and labels to manage their water quality. The objective of this paper is to assess the performance and validity of a new EHL screening tool. The Water Environmental Literacy Level Scale (WELLS) is based on the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) and contains six questions on comprehension, calculations and application of information. Content validity was assessed from expert review. Criterion-related and construct validity were evaluated using an online, convenience sample of adults ( = 869). Percent of correct responses for items ranged from 53% to 96% for NVS and from 41% to 97% for WELLS. Completion time, mean scores, distributions, and internal consistency were equivalent between both scales. Higher scores suggest higher EHL. The scales were moderately correlated (ρ = 0.47, < 0.001). Kappa agreement was 74%. Bland-Altman plots depicted little mean difference between the scales. Education and income level were positively associated with EHL. WELLS showed criterion-validity with NVS and construct validity with education and income. In practice or research, WELLS could quickly screen individuals for low EHL.

Alternate JournalInt J Environ Res Public Health
PubMed ID30862003