July 31st 2023

New CSHI Research Project on Psychosocial Health Literacy in Children

New research project aims to help measure psychosocial health literacy in children

The new CSHI research project is dedicated to fundamental research, aiming to gather insights that will aid in developing a survey instrument to measure psychosocial health literacy in children.

Health literacy is increasingly recognized as a crucial determinant of people's health and well-being. It refers to the knowledge, motivation, and abilities of individuals to maintain or improve their personal health and well-being. The foundation for developing these competencies is laid during childhood and adolescence. However, there is limited data available on the health literacy of children and adolescents in Austria.

The preceding Geko-T study, conducted jointly by the Austrian Public Health Institute (GÖG) and CSHI, addressed this issue before. Its primary objective was to assess the current state of research on health literacy of children and adolescents, develop an age-appropriate questionnaire for measurement, and conduct a survey with children and adolescents in Tyrol. The newly developed survey instrument, encompassing all dimensions of health (nutrition, physical activity, and psychosocial health), was used between April and July 2022 to survey a total of 780 children aged 9 to 13 years in Tyrol, resulting in valuable insights into the health literacy of this age group in the region.

The Geko-T study and the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of mental health literacy in children and adolescents and the lack of evidence in this area. Existing measurement instruments inadequately cover psychosocial health. In the recently developed survey instrument by GÖG and CSHI, psychosocial health represents one of the three thematic areas. Over the years, there has been a growing focus on this topic, particularly due to the increasing incidence of psychosocial diagnoses in childhood. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the mental health challenges faced by children and adolescents.

Considering both past and future challenges concerning the psychosocial health of children, it is essential to assess and document the situation in Tyrol. Therefore, the newly launched research project starts with a broad scientific and practical exchange with experts from various fields (e.g., school social workers, child psychologists, teachers). This will enable the development of an initial overview of the current situation in Tyrol and form the basis for creating an instrument to specifically assess the psychosocial health literacy of children. Ultimately, the aim is not only to contribute value to scientific research but also to inform decision-makers, health institutions, and educational establishments, enabling informed decisions built on evidence-based findings to effectively promote psychosocial health in children and adolescents.

The results of the preceding Geko-T study can be found in the final report (in German only).



Dr. Claudia Zoller

Postdoctoral Researcher, Project lead

Université Côte d’Azur & Center for Social & Health Innovation, MCI



Friederike Sahling, B.Sc., M.A.

Research assistant & project manager

Center for Social & Health Innovation

+43 512 2070 – 7442



Pia Reichmann, B.A.

Project assistant

Center for Social & Health Innovation




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CSHI Project on Mental Health Literacy in Children. Photo: © Annie Spratt (Unsplash)