As medical information becomes increasingly available and individuals take a more active role in managing their personal health, it is essential for scholars to better understand the general public's information-seeking behavior. The study reported here explores the use of the World Wide Web to seek health information in a contemporary information-media environment. Drawing from uses and gratifications theory and the comprehensive model of health information seeking, perceptions of traditional information sources (e.g., mass media, one's health care provider, etc.) are posited to predict use of the Web to seek health information and perceptions of information acquired from searches. Data from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS; N = 3982) were analyzed to test study hypotheses. Trust in information-oriented media, entertainment-oriented media, and one's health care provider all predicted Web use behavior and perceptions. The implications of the findings for research on information seeking and the role of the Web in patient empowerment are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences