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Journal of Data and Information Science  2017, Vol. 2 Issue (2): 76-95    DOI: 10.1515/jdis-2017-0009
Research Paper     
Seeking Health Information Online: The Moderating Effects of Problematic Situations on User Intention
Xia Lidan,Deng Shengli(),Liu Yirong
School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China
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Abstract  

Purpose: This study investigates how online user intention in searching health information is affected by problematic situations.

Design/methodology/approach: Based on the Theory of Reasoned Action, the Technology Acceptance Model, and Sense-making theory, we propose two dimensions of problematic situations: urgency and severity of health issues being searched online. Data were collected through a questionnaire survey among 214 Wuhan University students and analyzed using hierarchical regression analysis.

Findings: Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and subjective norm can influence user intention to seek health information online. The urgency of problematic situations has a negative moderating effect on the relationship between perceived ease of use and user intention and the relationship between subjective norm and user intention. The severity of problematic situations has a negative moderating effect on the relationship between subjective norm and user intention.

Research limitations: The respondents of the survey are limited to students in one Chinese university, so whether this study’s results can be applied to another population or not remains to be verified. In addition, only two dimensions of problematic situations are considered in this study.

Practical implications: The paper puts forward the moderating effect of problematic situations and verifies it, which is the compensation for online health information-seeking behavior research. Besides, our analyses have implications for professional design of health care systems and related consumer information searches, and improve their performance.

Originality/value: Previous work has reported the effects of problematic situation on user intention to seek health information online, ignoring its influence on other factors. This empirical study extends that work to identify the influence of problematic situation when seeking intention-behavior data in two dimensions, urgency and severity.



Key wordsHealth information seeking      Situation      Moderating effect      Urgency      Severity     
Published: 25 February 2017
Cite this article:

Xia Lidan, Deng Shengli, Liu Yirong. Seeking Health Information Online: The Moderating Effects of Problematic Situations on User Intention. Journal of Data and Information Science, 2017, 2(2): 76-95.

URL:

http://manu47.magtech.com.cn/Jwk3_jdis/10.1515/jdis-2017-0009     OR     http://manu47.magtech.com.cn/Jwk3_jdis/Y2017/V2/I2/76

Figure 1. The research focus of information-seeking behavior in recent years.
Type Overseas researchers Chinese researchers
Influencing factor Resource Influencing factor Resource
Demographic characteristics Gender Cotten & Gupta (2004);
Yun & Park (2010)
Personal psychological factor and implementation cost Zhu & Deng (2015)
Race Yi, Stvilia, & Mon ;
Ramanadhan & Viswanath (2006);
Rooks et al. (2012)
Cognitive ability, knowledge, and experience Sun, Wang, & Cao (2015)
Education Ramanadhan & Viswanath (2006);
Lemire et al. (2008)
Gender
Age
Education
Income
Wang (2013)
Wang (2013)
Wang (2013)
Wang (2013)
Income Ramanadhan & Viswanath (2006);
Zhao (2009)
Health condition Zhou & Cai (2014)
Internet use level Neumark et al. (2013)
Health condition Shaw et al. (2008)
Disability level Liang, Xue, & Chase (2011)
Information resources Perceived usefulness
Perceived ease of use
Kim (2015)
Ajuwon & Popoola (2015);
Zhang (2011)
Information demand satisfaction
Reality satisfaction
Internet interaction and
risk perception
Mo & Deng (2014)
Mo & Deng (2014)
Mo & Deng (2014)
Trust level of information Yun & Park (2010) Ease of use of search tools and
health website construction
Zhou & Cai (2014)
Credibility of website Lemire et al. (2008) Information factor Zhu & Deng (2015)
Information quality awareness Xiao et al. (2014)
Social factors Subjective norm Chau & Hu (2002);
Zhang (2011)
Social factor
Social support
Zhu & Deng (2015)
Mo & Deng (2014)
Other factors Self-efficacy and information anxiety Lim et al. (2011) Task type Zhou & Cai (2014)
Users’ interaction and emotional support Hether, Murphy, & Valente (2014) Health self-efficacy and
health consciousness
Mo & Deng (2014)
Table 1 The impact factors investigated in online health information-seeking research in the last decade.
Figure 2. Theory of Reasoned Action.
Figure 3. Technology Acceptance Model.
Figure 4. Online health information-seeking intention model.
Variable Measurement item Source
UPS Most health problems that I am seeking on the Internet need to be solved immediately. Zhang’s (2014)
Most health problems that I am seeking on the Internet are urgent.
SPS Most health problems that I am seeking on the Internet are serious. Zhang’s (2014)
When I meet with serious health problems, I tend to seek health information online.
PU I think using the Internet to seek health information can ease my anxiety over personal heath. Davis (1989);
Liang, Xue, & Chase (2011)
I think using the Internet to seek health information can increase my knowledge of health.
I think the health information online can solve my problems.
I think the health information online is useful.
PEU I have no difficulties with the operation of health information websites. Davis (1989);
Liang, Xue, & Chase (2011)
I do not need to spend a lot of energy in using the Internet to seek health information.
Learning to use health information websites is easy for me.
Being familiar with the operation of websites makes it very easy for me to find health information.
SN Quite a few people around me will use the Internet to seek health information. Ajzen (1985);
Chau & Hu (2001);
Chau & Hu (2002)
People who have influence on me think I should use the Internet to seek health information.
People who are important to me think I should use the Internet to seek health information.
UI I would like to use the Internet to seek health information. Taylor & Todd (1995a);
Taylor & Todd (1995b);
Bhattacherjee (2001)
I often seek health information on the Internet.
I would recommend people around me to use the Internet to seek health information.
Appendix Table A1 Variable, measurement item, and source.
Descriptive variable Item Frequency Percentage
Sex Male 79 36.9%
Female 135 63.1%
Age Under age 18 9 4.2%
18-22 years old 123 57.5%
23-28 years old 78 36.4%
More than 28 years old 4 1.9%
Education Bachelor degree 147 68.7%
Master degree 58 27.1%
Ph.D. 9 4.2%
Internet time per day Within 1 hour 14 6.5%
1-4 hours 124 57.9%
5-8 hours 57 26.6%
Above 8 hours 19 8.9%
Physical condition Good health 66 30.8%
Occasionally uncomfortable 141 65.9%
Often feeling unwell 6 2.8%
Suffering from a chronic disease 1 0.5%
Table 2 Demographic description.
Variable Mean SD alpha AVE PU PEU SN UPS SPS UI
PU 3.3002 0.68183 0.789 0.610 1
PEU 3.3879 0.71350 0.796 0.513 0.235** 1
SN 2.8255 0.76891 0.805 0.636 0.376** 0.287** 1
UPS 3.2056 0.92425 0.851 0.536 0.231** - 0.030 0.099 1
SPS 2.6402 0.88491 0.717 0.830 0.371** 0.080 0.326** 0.338** 1
UI 3.1511 0.78624 0.814 0.691 0.608** 0.217** 0.472** 0.248** 0.438** 1
Table 3 Reliability and correlation coefficient.
PEU PU SN UI UPS SPS
PEU3 0.864 0.099 0.021 0.114 - 0.009 0.015
PEU4 0.828 0.132 0.187 - 0.023 0.018 - 0.015
PEU1 0.741 - 0.161 0.124 0.233 - 0.052 0.014
PEU2 0.677 0.206 0.039 - 0.033 0.007 0.049
PU4 0.147 0.757 0.313 0.100 - 0.024 0.023
PU3 0.021 0.743 0.193 0.141 0.132 0.132
PU2 0.066 0.726 - 0.046 0.350 0.180 0.090
PU1 0.139 0.631 0.037 0.318 0.016 0.174
SN3 0.067 0.132 0.860 0.232 0.051 0.098
SN2 0.048 0.083 0.855 0.247 0.056 0.096
SN1 0.312 0.195 0.662 - 0.009 - 0.042 0.104
UI2 0.031 0.308 0.198 0.760 0.126 0.164
UI3 0.046 0.198 0.339 0.732 0.050 0.143
UI1 0.213 0.366 0.075 0.704 0.082 0.116
UPS2 - 0.032 0.096 - 0.001 0.041 0.915 0.143
UPS1 - 0.002 0.101 0.057 0.135 0.907 0.127
SPS1 0.025 0.146 0.055 0.115 0.258 0.837
SPS2 0.029 0.156 0.218 0.211 0.055 0.825
Note. Principle component analysis (PCA) is used in data analysis.
Table 4 Factor loadings and cross loadings.
Variable Step 1 Step 2
Step 1: Main effects
UPS 0.141** 0.615*
PU 0.486*** 0.065
PEU 0.134* 0.610**
SN 0.264*** 0.785*
Step 2: Moderations
UPS × PU 0.130
UPS × PEU - 0.134*
UPS × SN - 0.158*
R2 0.462 0.491
Adjusted R2 0.451 0.472
ΔR2 0.462 0.029
ΔF 40.974*** 3.618*
Table 5 Hierarchical regression results for user intention.
Variable Step 1 Step 2
Step 1: Main effects
SPS 0.217*** 0.934***
PU 0.432*** 0.388
PEU 0.128* 0.355*
SN 0.216*** 0.696***
Step 2: Moderations
SPS × PU 0.024
SPS × PEU - 0.083
SPS × SN - 0.179*
R2 0.481 0.514
Adjusted R2 0.471 0.496
ΔR2 0.481 0.033
ΔF 44.323*** 4.195**
Table 6 Hierarchical regression results for user intention.
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