Theses Doctoral

Online Health Information Seeking Behaviors of Hispanics in New York City

Lee, Young Ji

Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in the United States, but they are the most underserved population in terms of access to online health information. The specific aims of this descriptive, correlational study were to examine factors associated with online health information seeking behaviors of Hispanics and to examine the association between online health information seeking behaviors and health behaviors. The study sample (n=4,070) was recruited from five zip codes in the Washington Heights/Inwood community of New York City for the Washington Heights Inwood Informatics Infrastructure for Comparative Effectiveness Research project. Survey data were collected via interview by bilingual community health workers in three settings: a community center affiliated with Columbia University, households and other community settings, and New York-Presbyterian Ambulatory Care Network clinics. Data were analyzed using logistic and linear regressions. In regards to survey respondents' situational, sociodemographic, and literacy factors (health literacy, computer literacy) associated with their online health information seeking behaviors and those of their household members, the study found that that worse health status (OR=0.42, p<0.001), lack of hypertension (OR=0.60, p<0.01), a high level of education (OR=3.04, p<0.001), and computer literacy (OR=3.78, p < 0.001) were positively associated with respondents online health information seeking behaviors. Health literacy was only positively associated (OR=2.13, p<0.001) in a subsample of respondents (n=2,680) in which it was measured by one item related to understanding written health information. Respondents' factors significantly associated with online health information seeking by household members were: female gender (OR=1.60, p<0.01), younger age (OR=0.75, p<0.01), married (OR=1.36, p<0.01), higher education (OR=1.80, p<0.001), higher computer literacy (OR=2.24, p<0.001), in worse health status (OR=0.592, p<0.001), and presence of serious health problems (OR=1.83, p<0.01). Controlling for factors found to be significant in Aim 1, respondents' online health information seeking behaviors were hypothesized to be positively associated with fruit consumption, vegetable consumption, physical activity, and hypertension medication adherence and negatively associated with alcohol consumption. Hypotheses related to fruit consumption (p<0.05), vegetable consumption (p<0.05), and physical activity (p<0.01) were supported. This study contributes to the understanding of Hispanics' online health information seeking behaviors and provides the foundation for informatics and public health interventions.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Bakken, Suzanne R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 21, 2013