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Proxies, Ties and Health Information Seeking Realities: Survey Results of an African-American Community

Ophelia T. Morey

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Abstract

The purpose of this research poster is to present preliminary findings for a telephone survey. The goal of the survey was to explore consumer health information (CHI) seeking behavior using Mark Granovetter’s (Granovetter, 1973, Granovetter, 1983) strength of weak ties theory as the conceptual framework. The target population was African-Americans, ages 18-74 that live on the eastside of Buffalo, NY.

Interviewers asked 216 respondents questions to determine where individuals go to seek CHI and to explore the “closeness” of tie relationships if the respondent sought CHI from an individual and/or if the information seeking was for someone else (proxy searching)(Fisher et al., 2005).

Preliminary results of the survey are summarized below:

• Overall, 45.5 percent of respondents sought health information from a health service professional, 14.1 percent from a web site and 9.9% from another source. • Respondents who looked for health information in the past six months(42.4%) sought the information from a health service professional (weak tie) and most (52.8%) identified their relationship with this person as being "somewhat close" (significant tie)(Horrigan et al., 2006).” • Family members (strong tie) living with (2.4%) and not living with (8.8%) were the second choice for seeking health information for those who had looked for health information in the past six months. They are identified as "very close" (core tie)(Horrigan et al., 2006).” • Respondents who looked for health information in the past six months were more likely to have sought the information for themselves (76.6%), although 22.2 percent sought health information on behalf of another person (a child, parent, another relative or non-relative).


  
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