Research indicates that when people seek health information, they typically look for information about a specific symptom, preventive measure, disease, or treatment. It is unclear, however, whether general or disease-specific theoretical models best predict how people search for health information. We surveyed undergraduates (N = 963) at a large public southeastern university to examine health information seeking in two incongruent health contexts (sexual health and cancer) to test whether a general model would hold for specific topics that differed in their immediate personal relevance for the target population. We found that the planned risk information seeking model was statistically a good fit for the data. Yet multiple predicted paths were not supported in either data set. Certain variables, such as attitudes, norms, and affect, appear to be strong predictors of intentions to seek information across health contexts. Implications for theory building, research methodology, and applied work in health-related risk information seeking are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences