Measuring a Broad Spectrum of eHealth Skills in the Web 3.0 Context Using an eHealth Literacy Scale: Development and Validation Study

Hua Xuan Liu*, Bik Chu Chow, Wei Liang, Holger Hassel, YaJun Wendy Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)



eHealth literacy (EHL) refers to a variety of capabilities that enable individuals to obtain health information from electronic resources and apply it to solve health problems. With the digitization of health care and the wide availability of health apps, a more diverse range of eHealth skills is required to properly use such health facilities. Existing EHL measurements focus mainly on the skill of obtaining health information (Web 1.0), whereas skills for web-based interactions (Web 2.0) and self-managing health data and applying information (Web 3.0) have not been well measured.


This study aims to develop an EHL scale (eHLS) termed eHLS-Web3.0 comprising a comprehensive spectrum of Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 skills to measure EHL, and evaluate its validity and reliability along with the measurement invariance among college students.


In study 1, 421 Chinese college students (mean age 20.5, SD 1.4 years; 51.8% female) and 8 health experts (mean age 38.3, SD 5.9 years; 87.5% female) were involved to develop the eHLS-Web3.0. The scale development included three steps: item pool generation, content validation, and exploratory factor analysis. In study 2, 741 college students (mean age 21.3, SD 1.4 years; 52.2% female) were recruited from 4 Chinese cities to validate the newly developed eHLS-Web3.0. The construct validity, convergent validity, concurrent validity, internal consistency reliability, test-retest reliability, and measurement invariance across genders, majors, and regions were examined by a series of statistical analyses, including confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and multigroup CFAs using SPSS and Mplus software packages.


Based on the item pool of 374 statements collected during the conceptual development, 24 items (4-10 items per subscale) were generated and adjusted after cognitive testing and content validity examination. Through exploratory factor analysis, a 3-factor eHLS-Web3.0 was finally developed, and it included acquisition (8 items), verification (6 items), and application (10 items). In study 2, CFAs supported the construct validity of the 24-item 3D eHLS-Web3.0 (χ2244=903.076, χ2244=3.701, comparative fit index=0.924, Tucker-Lewis index=0.914, root mean square error of approximation [RMSEA]=0.06, and standardized root mean residual [SRMR]=0.051). The average variance extracted (AVE) value of 0.58 and high correlation between eHLS-Web3.0 subscales and the eHealth Literacy Scale (r=0.725-0.880, P<.001) indicated the convergent validity and concurrent validity of the eHLS-Web3.0. The results also indicated satisfactory internal consistency reliability (α=.976, ρ=0.934-0.956) and test-retest reliability (r=0.858, P<.001) of the scale. Multigroup CFA demonstrated the 24-item eHLS-Web3.0 to be invariant at all configural, metric, strength, and structural levels across genders (female and male), majors (sport-related, medical, and general), and regions (Yinchuan, Kunming, Xiamen, and Beijing).


The 24-item 3D eHLS-Web3.0 proved to be a reliable and valid measurement tool for EHL in the Web 3.0 context among Chinese college students.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere31627
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number9
Early online date28 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • eHealth literacy
  • scale development
  • validation
  • college students


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