Health information seeking as goal-directed behavior
Wright, Lanelle Danise
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Information seeking is a goal-directed communicative activity. Studies of health information seeking often look at the method of information seeking, such as what sources are used, the depth of an information search, or the characteristics of information users (i.e., demographic information and health status). However, little research has considered the goals and motivations that drive information seeking. Focus groups were conducted with undergraduate college students to explore what motivated them to either look for health information or decide that health information seeking was not warranted. Analysis of focus group text indicated that instances related to experiencing symptoms and actual diagnoses lead this population to seek health information, while an “invincibility complex” related to youth and familiarity with particular health conditions prevented information seeking. Participants also developed strategies for dealing with issues of trustworthiness based on the information sources available.