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Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología

Print version ISSN 0120-0534


GARCIA-RETAMERO, Rocio  and  MUNOZ, Rocio. How to Improve Comprehension of Medical Risks in Older Adults. rev.latinoam.psicol. [online]. 2013, vol.45, n.2, pp.253-264. ISSN 0120-0534.

Older adults frequently make decisions about their health. However, they prefer to play a passive role in this process. A plausible explanation of this result is that they often have difficulties understanding information about medical risks. In a study, we investigated the extent to what older adults (n=136) understand information about the effectiveness of medical treatments. In particular, we compared accuracy of their inferences to that of young adults (n=121). Participants were classified according to their graph literacy skills and received information about the effectiveness of medical treatments in a numerical or a visual format. Our study shows that visual aids substantially increased accuracy of inferences in older adults. Older adults with high graph literacy benefit most from the use of visual aids. We conclude that visual aids are often highly effective, transparent, and reliable risk communication tools. We discuss the practical implication of our results for the design of health campaigns.

Keywords : Aging; Visual Displays; Risk Perception; Information Dissemination; Visual Perception.

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