194700 Information-seeking behaviors and internet usage among Hispanics: The influence of ethnicity, language, and acculturation

Monday, November 9, 2009: 8:30 AM

Alison Pilsner, MPH, CPH, CHES , Health and Clinical Sciences Division (*Contract to the National Cancer Institute's Tobacco Cntrol Research Branch), DB Consulting Group, Inc., Silver Spring, MD
Abdul R. I. Shaikh, PhD, MHS , Behavioral Research Program, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
Richard Moser, PhD , Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD
Background: Latino populations face greater language and educational barriers to obtaining health related information. Factors such as these may also help explain the gap in Internet use between Latino and non-Latino groups1, leading to potentially greater risk of chronic diseases such as cancer (CITE). Objectives: Assess differences in population characteristics in Latino and non-Latino subgroups influencing Internet usage and chronic disease information seeking behaviors. Methods: Nationally representative data from the National Cancer Institute's 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) was used to explore health information-seeking and internet usage among respondents according to ethnicity (Latino or not), language of interview (English or Spanish), and whether or not the respondents were born in the United States. Results: Among self-identified Latinos, 38% reported using the Internet or e-mail compared to 71% of non-Latinos (p=.000). Within the Latino subgroup 16% of Spanish-speaking Latinos used the Internet or email compared to 69% of English-speaking Latinos (p=.000), while 66% of US-born Latinos reported using the Internet compared to 21% of foreign-born Latinos (p=.000). Differences were also found in where individuals first look for information about health related topics such as cancer. A significantly greater percentage of Latinos– also reported seeking health information from healthcare professionals (34%) and print sources (26%) when compared to non-Latinos (19% and 15% respectively), with similar trends seen among both Spanish-speaking and foreign-born Latinos. Compared to non-Latinos, Latinos were also less likely to seek health information from family, friends, and coworkers. Conclusions: The findings help illustrate how self-reported race/ethnicity, language, and country of birth may act as proxy measures for acculturation. Implications for communicating health promotion messages for Latino audiences include accounting for preferred message source characteristics and use of print versus new media.

Learning Objectives:
1) Identify the differences between distinct self-identified Hispanic/Latino subgroups to identify which population characteristics influence health/cancer information seeking and Internet usage. 2) Discuss cultural influences of chronic disease information seeking by ethnicity, language, and birth status (domestic versus foreign-born Hispanics).

Keywords: Latino Health, Information Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Alison Pilsner is a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow in NCI's Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch. With a diverse background in public health research and practice, her current branch activities include participating in the strategic planning, coordination, development, and implementation of health communication research and translation/dissemination activities, specifically in the areas of Latino health, health disparities, population sciences, and cyberinfrastructure. Ms. Pilsner is actively involved in collaborative efforts with a multidisciplinary group of investigators at several comprehensive cancer centers on research related to Hispanic populations and chronic disease information seeking. These efforts are also extended internationally as Ms. Pilsner serves on the auxiliary faculty as part of a multi-university service learning initiative in Central/South America. Prior to joining NCI, Ms. Pilsner was a LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, one of 34 multidisciplinary disabilities training programs funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and a part of the AUCD (Association of University Centers on Disabilities). In this capacity, she primarily dedicated her clinical, community, and research efforts to childhood disabilities and chronic illness among Hispanic families and was also very active in community health promotion and education, both in Pittsburgh and internationally. Ms. Pilsner received her MPH in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in April 2008. She was also the first student at the University to complete the Graduate Certificate in Health Disparities and Minority Health. She received her B.S. in Psychology (and Certificate in Western European Studies/Spanish) from the University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Pilsner was also a member of the Charter Class to receive Certification in Public Health (CPH).
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.