Health information seeking and the world wide web: An uncertainty management perspective

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Uncertainty management theory was applied in the present study to offer one theoretical explanation for how individuals use the World Wide Web to acquire health information and to help better understand the implications of the Web for information seeking. The diversity of information sources available on the Web and potential to exert some control over the depth and breadth of one's information-acquisition effort is argued to facilitate uncertainty management. A total of 538 respondents completed a questionnaire about their uncertainty related to cancer prevention and information-seeking behavior. Consistent with study predictions, use of the Web for information seeking interacted with respondents' desired level of uncertainty to predict their actual level of uncertainty about cancer prevention. The results offer evidence that respondents who used the Web to search for cancer information were better able than were respondents who did not seek information to achieve a level of uncertainty commensurate with the level of uncertainty they desired.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1296-1307
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 30 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Library and Information Sciences


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