Measuring Health Information-Seeking Behavior: The Online Self-care Scale

Journal title SALUTE E SOCIETÀ
Author/s Alessia Bertolazzi, Linda Lombi, Marco Terraneo
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/3 Language English
Pages 19 P. 177-195 File size 506 KB
DOI 10.3280/SES2023-003013
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During the last decades, researchers have shown an increased attention towards the practice of health information seeking online. This interest has been driven by a desire to understand how it influences health beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors among laypersons. Although many tools have been proposed to measure health information seeking, they present some limits. Through an online survey among 783 Italian university students, our study aims at developing a self-report instrument to measure individuals’ online health information-seeking behavior, the Online Self-care Scale (OSS), considering the twofold activity of seeking and employing information (the “Information seeking” and “Self-care practice”). We examined the reliability and construct validity of the OSS’s self-report scale and explored the association between Online Self-Care Scale and gender, socioeconomic status (SES), self-reported health status, and digital health literacy. Our findings show both acceptable discriminant and convergent validities for the OSS. The validity has also been assessed through the known-group validity, namely evaluating if OSS can discriminate between groups of individuals demonstrating different scores on the test. Therefore, the OSS Scale is a valid and reliable instrument to measure the level of involvement of individuals in health information retrieval, allowing researchers to distinguish between a merely information-seeking activity and an application of the information by the seekers.

Keywords: Health Information-Seeking; Online Health Information; Digital Health Literacy; Self-care; Health status; Scale validation.

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Alessia Bertolazzi, Linda Lombi, Marco Terraneo, Measuring Health Information-Seeking Behavior: The Online Self-care Scale in "SALUTE E SOCIETÀ" 3/2023, pp 177-195, DOI: 10.3280/SES2023-003013