The Relationship Between Individual Coping and the Need to Have and Seek Health Information Among Older Adults: Exploratory Mixed Methods Study


Art der Publikation: Journal Article

Veröffentlicht auf / in: JMIR Human Factors

Issue: 1

Jahr: 2021

Band / Volume: 8

Veröffentlichungsort: Toronto

Verlag (Publisher): JMIR Publications


ISSN: 2292-9495


Sabine Theis

Katharina Schäfer

Dajana Schäfer

Nicole Jochems

Verena Nitsch

Alexander Mertens


Background: The need to have and seek information shapes the context of computing systems. When it comes to health,individual coping influences human behavior. Therefore, the relationship between individual coping and the need to have andseek health information plays a crucial role in the development of digital health systems.Objective: This study aims to examine the relationship between individual coping and the need to have and seek healthinformation among older adults.Methods: Questionnaires and semistructured interviews investigated the health information need (HIN) and healthinformation–seeking behavior (HISB) in relation to the individual coping strategies of 26 older Germans.Results: The mean age of the interviewed group was 71 years (SD 7). Quantitatively, a trend was found for a negative correlationbetween the avoidance-oriented coping and HIN (rs=−0.37895; bias-corrected and accelerated bootstrap 95% BCa CI −0.730 to0.092; P=.05). The qualitative results supported this finding. For some participants, information and exchange was part of dealingwith their health situation, whereas others wanted to learn as little as possible to avoid a decline in their health status. The olderadults acquired, collected, and exchanged paper-based health data to augment clinical information sources and support informationexchange with professionals.Conclusions: Individual coping strategies are relevant for the design of digital health systems. They can support older adultsin coping with their health situation, although it remains unclear how systems must be designed for people with an avoidancecoping strategy to achieve the same acceptance.

Zitation kopiert