Seeking Health Information in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC): The Role of Health Literacy, Social Support and Community Engagement on Treatment Adherence

Allyson Sue Hughes, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

Social support, being valued and cared for by others (Wills, 1991), is a critical construct for disease management and often includes providing advice and information to peers online. Approximately 83% of individuals with chronic disease search for health information online and there are more than 500,000 active social media users in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) who have varying levels of disease management expertise. Due to the strenuous nature of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), members of the DOC are continuously asking for and receiving anecdotal health information, yet very few studies have evaluated the impact of the DOC on treatment adherence and health outcomes. The main aim of this dissertation included developing the Attitudes Toward Seeking Health Information scale in a sample of individuals with T1D who are active in the DOC. The studies investigated the link between treatment adherence, technology, and peer support by developing and testing a scale to measure the information-seeking portion of this research problem. Using themes from preliminary data that investigated antecedents of seeking health information online (Hughes, Perez, & Morera, 2017), DOC stakeholders provided qualitative feedback on the measure in Study 1. In Study 2, the scale was revised based on feedback from individuals recruited from the DOC in Study 1 and was tested on DOC members. The scale was revised and validated. Study 2 participants provided feedback regarding the scale and multiple regression models assessed the link between treatment adherence, technology and peer support. The project highlights the connection between social support, online health information seeking, diabetes distress, and treatment adherence.

Subject Area

Public Health Education|Psychology|Health care management

Recommended Citation

Hughes, Allyson Sue, "Seeking Health Information in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC): The Role of Health Literacy, Social Support and Community Engagement on Treatment Adherence" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI13421790.
https://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI13421790

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