A Prescription for Internet Access: Appealing to Middle-Aged and Older Racial and Ethnic Minorities Through Social Network Sites to Combat Colorectal Cancer

Crystal Y. Lumpkins, Natabhona Mabachi, Jaehoon Lee, Christina Pacheco, K. Allen Greiner, Mugur Geana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The popularity and usage of social media networks or SNS (social networking sites) among American Internet users age 50 and over doubled between 2009 and 2010 and has steadily climbed. Part of this increased access may be the result of older adults who are living with a chronic disease and are reaching out for online support. Colorectal cancer (CRC) risk is among those concerns, particularly among middle-age and older minority populations where disparities exist. This exploratory study investigates information seeking behavior related to cancer factors (e.g. testing for colon cancer, cancer fatalism) and current social media usage among racial and ethnic minority groups (African American and Latinos) and Whites age 50 and older. The secondary data from the 2012 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) was analyzed to compare these populations. Results show that African Americans and Latinos were only slightly more likely to use social network sites to seek out cancer information compared to Whites. However, Whites were more likely to use the Internet to seek health information compared to African Americans and Latinos. In this sample, Whites were also more likely to be informed by a physician about CRC testing (p <.01). Whites were also more fatalistic about CRC (p<.001) and more likely to have self-reported receiving a positive diagnosis (p <.001). Implications of this study suggest that use of both traditional health information sources (physician) and the Internet (social media networks, Internet sites) have increased among older Americans and can serve as critical channels for cancer information and education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)916-920
Number of pages5
JournalHealth Communication
Volume32
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

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