Predictive modelling : parents’ decision making to use online child health information to increase their understanding and/or diagnose or treat their child’s health

Walsh, Anne M., Hyde, Melissa, Hamilton, Kyra, & White, Katherine M. (2012) Predictive modelling : parents’ decision making to use online child health information to increase their understanding and/or diagnose or treat their child’s health. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, 12(144).

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Abstract Background The quantum increases in home Internet access and available online health information with limited control over information quality highlight the necessity of exploring decision making processes in accessing and using online information, specifically in relation to children who do not make their health decisions. Objectives To understand the processes explaining parents’ decisions to use online health information for child health care. Methods Parents (N = 391) completed an initial questionnaire assessing the theory of planned behaviour constructs of attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control, as well as perceived risk, group norm, and additional demographic factors. Two months later, 187 parents completed a follow-up questionnaire assessing their decisions to use online information for their child’s health care, specifically to 1) diagnose and/or treat their child’s suspected medical condition/illness and 2) increase understanding about a diagnosis or treatment recommended by a health professional. Results Hierarchical multiple regression showed that, for both behaviours, attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, (less) perceived risk, group norm, and (non) medical background were the significant predictors of intention. For parents’ use of online child health information, for both behaviours, intention was the sole significant predictor of behaviour. The findings explain 77% of the variance in parents’ intention to treat/diagnose a child health problem and 74% of the variance in their intentions to increase their understanding about child health concerns. Conclusions Understanding parents’ socio-cognitive processes that guide their use of online information for child health care is important given the increase in Internet usage and the sometimes-questionable quality of health information provided online. Findings highlight parents’ thirst for information; there is an urgent need for health professionals to provide parents with evidence-based child health websites in addition to general population education on how to evaluate the quality of online health information.

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ID Code: 56179
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank all those parents who completed the surveys and the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology for the Early Career Research grant that funded this research.
Keywords: Online health information, Child health, Child health information seeking, Theory of planned behaviour, Risk taking, Group norm, Parental decision making, Internet use
DOI: 10.1186/1472-6947-12-144
ISSN: 1472-6947
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Clinical Nursing - Primary (Preventative) (111002)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > OTHER PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (179900)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 BioMed Central
Copyright Statement:
Deposited On: 10 Jan 2013 00:52
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2013 17:50

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