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Soc Sci Med. 2009 Nov;69(10):1501-5. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.08.039. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

Parental education and children's online health information seeking: beyond the digital divide debate.

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1
Department of Sociology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122, USA. bzhao001@temple.edu

Abstract

Research has shown that increasing numbers of teenagers are going online to find health information, but it is unclear whether there are disparities in the prevalence of online health seeking among young Internet users associated with social and economic conditions. Existing literature on Internet uses by adults indicates that low income, less educated, and minority individuals are less likely to be online health seekers. Based on the analysis of data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project for the US, this study finds that teens of low education parents are either as likely as or even more likely than teens of high education parents to seek online health information. Multiple regression analysis shows that the higher engagement in health seeking by teens of low education parents is related to a lower prevalence of parental Internet use, suggesting that some of these teens may be seeking online health information on behalf of their low education parents. Implications of these findings are discussed in relation to the issues of the digital divide and digital empowerment.

PMID:
19765874
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2009.08.039
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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