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American Baby Boomers' sourcing of health information

Zook, Ben (2019) American Baby Boomers' sourcing of health information. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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When health issues arise, individuals often aim to learn about the condition: seeking advice from professionals, family, or medical literature. The American elderly population will double between 2012 and 2050 with Baby Boomers central to this growth. They are considered a culturally pivotal generation in American history and experienced the explosion of widespread Internet use as working adults. To support this unique generation health professionals need to know where Baby Boomers get information and what sources they trust.
1.Where did Baby Boomers access health information before the Internet became readily available?
2.Where does the Baby Boomer generation look to find information to help make decisions about their own health?
3.How do Baby Boomers prioritize different sources of information?
A 22 question anonymous survey was created and distributed via the Qualtrics Survey System to participants born between 1946 and 1964 (n=222).
As children and young adults, most participants reported going to physicians and/or family members. 99% reported current weekly Internet use, and 66% reported the same for social media use. The most frequently used sources were physicians (98%), Internet sources (84%) and family members (67%). More participants reported using for-profit health information websites such as WebMD (86%) than hospital or university-affiliated (68%) or government-affiliated (50%) sites. Physicians and other healthcare professionals were considered trustworthy (95%) together with health information websites (67%). Other media sources received significantly lower trust rankings. Most participants considered hospital- or university-affiliated sites (89%), health information websites such as WebMD (80%) and government-affiliated sites (77%) to be trustworthy, while social media (32%) was less frequently considered trustworthy.
The Baby Boomer generation will become the largest age bracket of healthcare recipients in American history. The past few decades have seen an explosion of online health information sources available to this public. Compared to previous generations, Baby Boomers are less likely to rely solely on their healthcare provider for information and are more likely to research health information independently. This could cause conflicts between sources of information but may also be indicative of motivation and engagement in their care process.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Zook, Benbjz9@pitt.edubjz9
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorLeslie, Paulapleslie@pitt.edupleslie
Committee MemberTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.edumaterry
Committee MemberWright, Rollinrmw27@pitt.edumw27
Committee MemberSmith,
Date: 23 April 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 18 January 2019
Approval Date: 23 April 2019
Submission Date: 4 February 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 96
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Online Health Information, Health Information Sourcing, Internet
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2019 20:09
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2019 20:09

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