180962 Profiling Characteristics of Individual's Using Internet Health Information in Health Care Non-Adherence Decisions

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 1:00 PM

James B. Weaver, PhD , National Center for Health Marketing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Nancy Thompson, PhD, MPH , Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Stephanie Sargent Weaver, PhD , National Centers for Health Marketing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH , Center for Prevention Research, Center for Media Impact Research, Andrews University, Careywood, ID
Objective: While the Internet is an important transforming mechanism for medical care and public health promotion and education, questions remain about its limitations. Emerging evidence indicates that a significant proportion of Internet health information consumers are engaging treatment strategies inconsistent with professional recommendations. This study aimed to distinguish Internet users who report non-adherence behavior from their counterparts based a variety of other personal and environmental determinants.

Methods: Responses were anonymously obtained via a self-administered Internet questionnaire from a random sample of adults (males, n = 298; females, n = 317) in the Seattle-Tacoma DMA. Respondents reported their confidence in and use of Internet health information, health status, and personality, depression, and social support self-assessments.

Results: Health information was a key aspect of Internet use for 85.2% of respondents. Overall, 11.2 % of the sample reported that they had “refused or discontinued treatment recommended by your doctor/dentist based on information you obtained from the Internet”. Stepwise discriminant analyses revealed that importance of Internet health information, personality trait anxiety, diminished physical health, congregational support, and time spent using the Internet, in general, and time spent seeking illness and disease information, in particular, were significant discriminating variables. Secondary analysis revealed that depression and diminishing mental health were more evident in non-adherent individuals.

Conclusions: The prominence of attitudes towards and use of Internet health information in health care non-adherence behavior is a unique observation. Consistent with prior adherence research, such behavior appears strongly linked with personal determinants such anxiety, depression, and diminishing health.

Learning Objectives:
Articulate the role of Internet health information in health care non-adherence decisions. Consider other personal and environmental determinants distinguishing individuals who report using Internet health information in health care non-adherence decisions from their counterparts. Apply enhanced understanding of Internet instigated health care non-adherence determinants in construction of intervention models and behavioral screening tools.

Keywords: Internet, Adherence

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I supervised data collection, analysis, and report.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.