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J Health Commun. 2011 Jul;16(6):583-94. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.551992. Epub 2011 May 24.

Sources of health information in a multiethnic, underserved, urban community: does ethnicity matter?

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William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045, USA.


The Latino population is the fastest growing minority in the country, and is expected to reach about 30% of the total U.S. population by 2050. Historically, primary care practitioners are not the preferred source of health information for Latinos living in the United States. Latinos are known to rely more on media, family, and friends to get answers to health-related questions. Choosing the appropriate information source is an important component of health information-seeking behavior; it also represents a major challenge for health communicators trying to deliver information to their target audience. This study explores how ethnicity influences health information source selection among Latinos and White non-Latinos living together in an underserved, multiethnic urban community with poor health status and underlying socioeconomic characteristics. The results suggest that this community manifests a high degree of homogeneity in their usage of health information sources. Nevertheless, there are significant differences between ethnic groups and age groups on perceived usefulness of the health information retrieved from common sources. Our results suggest that health information sources that are interactive, native to the community (e.g., the local pharmacist), and promote active engagement are the most useful in delivering health messages that will be listened to by those living in this underserved, multiethnic urban community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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