203255 "Health Talk Network" and Perceived Health Information Literacy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 11:00 AM

Yong-Chan Kim, PhD , Department of Community and Behavioral Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
Aims: Built on previous studies of social network and recently developed communication infrastructure theory, this study proposes a new concept, “health talk network” (HTN) defined as breadth of social network for sharing health information. We hypothesize that the broader the health talk network, the more confident individuals are in their everyday health information seeking behaviors.

Methods: This study is based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of 214 African American residents in Wilcox County in Alabama. HTN is measured by counting the number of individuals a person has in his or her social network as those he or she can talk with about health issues.

Findings: (1) the respondents had 2.14 persons on average in their social network who they could share health stories; (2) individuals in the 50s were more likely to have a broader HTN than other age groups. Respondents who were more connected to local media, and local community organizations, and those who had health insurance were more likely to have a broader HTN. Other SES factors such as education, income, and gender were not significant; (3) HTN was a significant factor in individuals' perceived competence in understanding drug information, interaction with health care providers, seeking health information, and understanding health information in the media. Those with a broader HTN also believed they had better access to health information. Individuals with a broader HTN had a higher level of health related self-efficacy (i.e., confidence in taking care of self and family physical and mental health).

Learning Objectives:
1) Define a new concept of "health talk network." 2) Assess the breadth of health talk network of African American residents in rural Alabama. 3) Identify the factors in health talk network. 4) Assess the effects of health talk network on individuals' health information efficacy.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Health Information

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was responsible for data collection and paper writing.
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.