Online health information seeking among jewish and arab adolescents in Israel: Results from a national school survey

Yehuda Neumark*, Catalina Lopez-Quintero, Becca S. Feldman, A. J. Hirsch Allen, Ronny Shtarkshall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined patterns and determinants of seeking online health information among a nationally representative sample of 7,028 Jewish and Arab 7th-through 12th-grade students in 158 schools in Israel. Nearly all respondents (98.7%) reported Internet access, and 52.1% reported having sought online health information in the past year. Arab students (63%) were more likely than Jewish students (48%) to seek online health information. Population-group and sex differences in health topics sought online were identified, although fitness/exercise was most common across groups. Multivariate regression models revealed that having sought health information from other sources was the strongest independent correlate of online health information-seeking among Jews (adjusted odds ratio = 8.93, 95% CI [7.70, 10.36]) and Arabs (adjusted odds ratio = 9.77, 95% CI [7.27, 13.13]). Other factors associated with seeking online health information common to both groups were level of trust in online health information, Internet skill level, having discussed health/medical issues with a health care provider in the past year, and school performance. The most common reasons for not seeking online health information were a preference to receive information from a health professional and lack of interest in health/medical issues. The closing of the digital divide between Jews and Arabs represents a move toward equality. Identifying and addressing factors underpinning online health information-seeking behaviors is essential to improve the health status of Israeli youth and reduce health disparities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1097-1115
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Volume18
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by a grant from Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research (Yehuda Neumark and Ronny Shtarkshall, co–principal investigators).

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