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Free Content Monitoring or avoiding health information – the relation to inner inclination and health status

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Background:  The way a person responds to health information, for instance by actively seeking it out or avoiding it, is an important part of overall coping with health issues. This study starts from the assumption that there are individual differences in information behaviour in charged contexts such as when faced with the stress and anxiety of compromised health.

Objective:  To shed light on mechanisms through which personal characteristics (locus of control) and world views (sense of coherence) influence health information interest and health information seeking in relation to health status.

Method:  The methods used in this study are quantitative. The material consists of data procured via a postal survey, which was posted to a representative sample group consisting of 2500 Finnish citizens aged 18–65 years. The statistical analysis consists of F‐tests for means, frequency analyses and cross tab‐analyses (chi‐square and Goodman–Kruskal gamma).

Results:  Persons with perceived health problems are comparatively more characterised by external locus of control and by lower motivation to act on health issues.

Conclusion:  More research is needed before these complex relationships are fully understood. However, the results of this study show that internal locus of control entails high interest in, and low avoidance of, health information.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Information Studies, Åbo Akademi University, Åbo, Finland

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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