Information Seeking in Uncertainty Management Theory: Exposure to Information about Medical Uncertainty and Information-Processing Orientation as Predictors of Uncertainty Management Success

Stephen A Rains, Riva Tukachinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Uncertainty management theory outlines the processes through which individuals cope with health-related uncertainty. Information seeking has been frequently documented as an important uncertainty management strategy. The reported study investigates exposure to specific types of medical information during a search, and one's information-processing orientation as predictors of successful uncertainty management (i.e., a reduction in the discrepancy between the level of uncertainty one feels and the level one desires). A lab study was conducted in which participants were primed to feel more or less certain about skin cancer and then were allowed to search the World Wide Web for skin cancer information. Participants search behavior was recorded and content analyzed. The results indicate that exposure to two health communication constructs that pervade medical forms of uncertainty (i.e., severity and susceptibility) and information-processing orientation predicted uncertainty management success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1275-1286
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume20
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Communication

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