Health Complaints and the Search for Health Information
SourceCommunications, 25, 2, (2000), pp. 143-160
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ NISCO CW
This article addresses the question to what extent one's perceived health problems lead to an active search for health information and which sources are likely to be consulted to solve those problems. Based on previous research and developed theory it is expected that interpersonal expert sources are the most likely to be consulted in the case of health problems and this likelihood increases as the health problems become more serious. It is also expected that other sources such as medical books and people in one's social surroundings will be consulted frequently. Another expectation is that an active search for health information will be guided both by past experience with health problems and the personal or social interest the subject has in regard to health information. Furthermore it is expected that both women and people with a college degree are more likely to actively pursue health information. To answer this question and to test these assumptions, a survey was carried out among a random sample of adults in The Netherlands. The findings support all but one of the above-mentioned assumptions: the assumption that women are more likely to actively pursue health information is not supported. Possible explanations for this deviant finding are discussed.
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