Online Program

Between knowledge and social support: Health information seeking using mobile phones among low income new mothers

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Lucia Guerra-Reyes, PhD, MPH, MA, Department of Applied Health Science, School of Public Health-Bloomington, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Katie Siek, PhD, School of Informatics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Asia Harris, School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Annu Prabhakar, School of Informatics, Indiana University
Vanessa M Christie, MPHc, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Background: During pregnancy women are bombarded with health information. In addition to medical professionals, family, friends, and books, numerous mobile technology applications cater to a growing demand for easily accessible pregnancy related information. Research has shown that women rely heavily on these mobile applications before birth. However, very little is known about how women look for information after birth when most of these applications cease to be of use.

Methods: In collaboration with community partners we conducted an exploratory mixed methods study with new mothers in a Midwestern county. A survey collected information on use of technology and health information seeking behaviors (n=78), it was followed by in-depth interviews with a sub group of low income mothers (10) which assessed intent and routes of access to information.

Results: Survey respondents cited medical professionals as their main source of information (86%), however medical and baby sites (83%) also figured prominently. Interviews among low income women suggest that women with higher access to resources (higher education, urban) go to internet sources that will yield authoritative medical information. Whereas low income mothers with lower access to social resources (less educated) prefer those which provide authoritative knowledge from peers, mostly found on social media and forums.

Conclusions: The internet is an important source of health information for mothers. Women seek different type of information due to differential access to social capital. More research is needed to effectively connect women to information that is relevant to them after birth.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe information seeking behaviors of new mothers.

Keyword(s): Information Technology, Low-Income

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Co-PI on this study and conducted all the interviews myself.
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.