Impact of long COVID-19 on posttraumatic stress disorder as modified by health literacy: an observational study in Vietnam

Han Thi Vo, Tien Duc Dao, Tuyen Van Duong, Tan Thanh Nguyen, Binh Nhu Do, Tinh Xuan Do, Khue Minh Pham, Vinh Hai Vu, Linh Van Pham, Lien Thi Hong Nguyen, Lan Thi Huong Le, Hoang Cong Nguyen, Nga Hoang Dang, Trung Huu Nguyen, Anh The Nguyen, Hoan Van Nguyen, Phuoc Ba Nguyen, Hoai Thi Thanh Nguyen, Thu Thi Minh Pham, Thuy Thi LeThao Thi Phuong Nguyen, Cuong Quoc Tran, Kien Trung Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has increased, particularly among individuals who have recovered from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Health literacy is considered a “social vaccine” that helps people respond effectively to the pandemic. We aimed to investigate the association between long COVID-19 and PTSD, and to examine the modifying role of health literacy in this association. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at 18 hospitals and health centers in Vietnam from December 2021 to October 2022. We recruited 4,463 individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 infection for at least 4 weeks. Participants provided information about their sociodemographics, clinical parameters, health-related behaviors, health literacy (using the 12-item short-form health literacy scale), long COVID-19 symptoms and PTSD (Impact Event Scale-Revised score of 33 or higher). Logistic regression models were used to examine associations and interactions. Results: Out of the study sample, 55.9% had long COVID-19 symptoms, and 49.6% had PTSD. Individuals with long COVID-19 symptoms had a higher likelihood of PTSD (odds ratio [OR], 1.86; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.63–2.12; p<0.001). Higher health literacy was associated with a lower likelihood of PTSD (OR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.97–0.99; p=0.001). Compared to those without long COVID-19 symptoms and the lowest health literacy score, those with long COVID-19 symptoms and a 1-point health literacy increment had a 3% lower likelihood of PTSD (OR, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.96–0.99; p=0.001). Conclusion: Health literacy was found to be a protective factor against PTSD and modified the negative impact of long COVID-19 symptoms on PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
Number of pages12
JournalOsong Public Health and Research Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Health literacy
  • Long COVID-19
  • Observational study
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Vietnam

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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