Educated but anxious: How emotional states and education levels combine to influence online health information seeking

Jessica Gall Myrick, Jessica Fitts Willoughby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study combined conceptual frameworks from health information seeking, appraisal theory of emotions, and social determinants of health literatures to examine how emotional states and education predict online health information seeking. Nationally representative data from the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS 4, Cycle 3) were used to test the roles of education, anxiety, anger, sadness, hope, happiness, and an education by anxiety interaction in predicting online health information seeking. Results suggest that women, tablet owners, smartphone owners, the college educated, those who are sad some or all of the time, and those who are anxious most of the time were significantly more likely to seek online health information. Conversely, being angry all of the time decreased the likelihood of seeking. Furthermore, two significant interactions emerged between anxiety and education levels. Discrete psychological states and demographic factors (gender and education) individually and jointly impact information seeking tendencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-660
Number of pages12
JournalHealth informatics journal
Volume25
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics

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