The public and the Internet: Multifaceted drives for seeking health information

  • Boot C
  • Meijman F
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The aim of this study was to gain insight into people's
drives, or motives, for seeking health information on the
Internet. A systematic literature review, restricted to
handbooks and reviews, was conducted by searching the
databases of various disciplines. Each drive was translated
into the context of health information. Five drives were
retrieved from the fields of psychology, mass communication,
library and information science, and medical science: drives
regarding the retrieval of knowledge, social contact or
support, tempering uncertainty, entertainment, and
self-actualization. Based on these results, three hypotheses
were generated for future research: (1) drives are
interconnected and may be present simultaneously in the
process of seeking information; (2) they not only serve as
antecedents for the need for information, but are present
throughout the entire information-seeking process; (3) they
are subject to change throughout the information-seeking
process. Various drives play a role in the health
information-seeking process.

Author-supplied keywords

  • consumer health information
  • health information needs
  • information seeking
  • infotainment
  • motive
  • public health informatics

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  • Cécile R.L. Boot

  • Frans J. Meijman

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