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J Health Commun. 2011 Feb;16(2):212-25. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2010.522227.

Psychosocial determinants of cancer-related information seeking among cancer patients.

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  • 1Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6220, USA.


This study explores the utility of using the Integrative Model of Behavioral Prediction as a framework for predicting cancer patients' intentions to seek information about their cancer from sources other than a physician, and to examine the relation between patients' baseline intentions to seek information and their actual seeking behavior at follow-up. Within 1 year of their diagnosis with colon, breast, or prostate cancer, 1,641 patients responded to a mailed questionnaire assessing intentions to seek cancer-related information from a source other than their doctor, as well as their attitudes, perceived normative pressure, and perceived behavioral control with respect to this behavior. In addition, the survey assessed their cancer-related information seeking. One year later, 1,049 of these patients responded to a follow-up survey assessing cancer-related information seeking during the previous year. Attitudes, perceived normative pressure, and perceived behavioral control were predictive of information-seeking intentions, although attitudes emerged as the primary predictor. Intentions to seek information, perceived normative pressure regarding information seeking, baseline information-seeking behavior, and being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer were predictive of actual information-seeking behavior at follow-up. Practical implications are discussed.

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