Motives for Health Information Behavior: Patterns More Refined Than Traditional Dichotomies. A Study Among Women in a Cervix Treatment Process

Inge Dubbeldam, José Sanders, Wilbert Spooren, Frans J. Meijman, Maaike van den Haak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Health consumers are increasingly expected to play an active role with respect to their health and make informed decisions. Therefore, it is essential that health information meets the needs and expectations of health consumers. Online health information is examined from the perspectives of patients with uterine cervical dysplasia undergoing a frequently performed gynecological procedure at an outpatient clinic of a general, top clinical Dutch hospital. The information behavior of 40 women was studied qualitatively by means of interviews and observations in three phases from the start of their medical episode: the emergence or lack of information needs (interviews); the choice for particular information sources or channels (interviews); and searching for information on the Internet (both observations and interviews). The results of the study identified five patterns of information behavior: inactive/passive (N = 5), sensitive/limited (N = 7), selective/problem solving (N = 5), constructive/explorative (N = 8), and assertive/browsing (N = 4). Examples of corresponding recommendations are discussed which aim at optimizing health information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-141
JournalJournal of Consumer Health on the Internet
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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