Examining the Correlates of Online Health Information–Seeking Behavior Among Men Compared With Women
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© The Author(s) 2016. This study aimed to identify and compare the demographic, health behavior, health status, and social media use correlates of online health-seeking behaviors among men and women. Cross-sectional self-report data were collected from 1,289 Australian adults participating in the Queensland Social Survey. Logistic regression analyses were used to identify the correlates of online health information seeking for men and women. Differences in the strength of the relation of these correlates were tested using equality of regression coefficient tests. For both genders, the two strongest correlates were social media use (men: odds ratio [OR] = 2.57, 95% confidence interval [CI: 1.78, 3.71]; women: OR = 2.93, 95% CI [1.92, 4.45]) and having a university education (men: OR = 3.63, 95% CI [2.37, 5.56]; women: OR = 2.74, 95% CI [1.66, 4.51]). Not being a smoker and being of younger age were also associated with online health information seeking for both men and women. Reporting poor health and the presence of two chronic diseases were positively associated with online health seeking for women only. Correlates of help seeking online among men and women were generally similar, with exception of health status. Results suggest that similar groups of men and women are likely to access health information online for primary prevention purposes, and additionally that women experiencing poor health are more likely to seek health information online than women who are relatively well. These findings are useful for analyzing the potential reach of online health initiatives targeting both men and women.
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