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    Gender as an influencer of online health information-seeking and evaluation behavior

    Rowley, J, Johnson, F and Sbaffi, L (2017) Gender as an influencer of online health information-seeking and evaluation behavior. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 68 (1). pp. 36-47. ISSN 2330-1635

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    Abstract

    This article contributes to the growing body of research that explores the significance of context in health information behavior. Specifically, through the lens of trust judgments, it demonstrates that gender is a determinant of the information evaluation process. A questionnaire-based survey collected data from adults regarding the factors that influence their judgment of the trustworthiness of online health information. Both men and women identified credibility, recommendation, ease of use, and brand as being of importance in their trust judgments. However, women also take into account style, while men eschew this for familiarity. In addition, men appear to be more concerned with the comprehensiveness and accuracy of the information, the ease with which they can access it, and its familiarity, whereas women demonstrate greater interest in cognition, such as the ease with which they can read and understand the information. These gender differences are consistent with the demographic data, which suggest that: women consult more types of sources than men; men are more likely to be searching with respect to a long-standing health complaint; and, women are more likely than men to use tablets in their health information seeking. Recommendations for further research to better inform practice are offered.

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