Use of and satisfaction with sources of health information among older internet users and nonusers

Jessica Taha, Joseph Sharit, Sara Czaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Purpose:Older adults generally have an increased need for health care information. Whereas some use the Internet to look for this information, others use more traditional sources. This study gathered data from older adults to determine their health information needs, the perceived usefulness of sources of health information, and if there are differences in perceptions and use of health information between Internet users and nonusers.Design and Methods:We conducted 9 focus groups - 4 groups of Internet users (n = 27) and 5 groups of non-Internet users (n = 26) - to determine reasons for seeking health information, satisfaction with information, and use of the Internet to fulfill information needs. Data from focus groups were supplemented with questionnaire data.Results:Those who do not use the Internet were found to be just as satisfied with the health information they find as those who search for information online. We also found that nonusers are more likely to make health care decisions based upon information found offline than Internet users who have access to more information.Implications:Nonusers may find it quicker to look for information through traditional media sources and stay offline, thus limiting their information options. Strategies for encouraging Internet use and programs to teach effective searching skills are needed. Physicians could also direct older patients toward credible health information Web sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-673
Number of pages11
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2009


  • Focus groups
  • Health information seeking
  • Internet
  • Satisfaction with health information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology


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