Information-seeking about health in a community sample of adults: correlates and associations with other health-related practices
Rakowski, W., Assaf, A. R., Lefebvre, R., Lasater, T. M., Niknian, M., & Carleton, R. A. (1990). Information-seeking about health in a community sample of adults: correlates and associations with other health-related practices. Health Education Quarterly, 17(4), 379-393.
Action by individuals to acquire information about their health has been an element incorporated throughout theory, research, and programs related to health promotion. This report describes an attempt to determine if an information-seeking dimension could be empirically identified in a general community-resident sample, and if so, to examine some of its characteristics. A total of 281 adults aged 18-75 were contacted by telephone using random digit dialing and were interviewed about a variety of personal health practices. Factor analysis identified a five-item cluster representing a tendency to seek out information about health. Women were more likely than men to report seeking information. In addition, more frequent information-seeking was associated with favorable responses to several other health-related practices. Formal health service use was the only type of health practice not associated with information-seeking, perhaps because regularity of contact is influenced strongly by health professionals (e.g., reminder cards and having staff call to schedule annual exams). Overall, results of the investigation support the importance of information-seeking as a component of a personal health practice repertoire. Additional attention might be directed toward elaborating its role as a +ACI-process+ACI- variable in health education programs and social marketing efforts, particularly in areas such as response to recruitment messages, dropout vs. maintenance, and differential gains on outcome measures of program effectiveness