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J Health Commun. 2012;17(6):631-40. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2011.635767. Epub 2012 Jan 2.

Health locus of control, acculturation, and health-related Internet use among Latinas.

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Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555, USA.


Among individuals residing in the United States, the Internet is the third most used source for obtaining health information. Little is known, however, about its use by Latinas. To understand health-related Internet use among Latinas, the authors examined it within the theoretical frameworks of health locus of control and acculturation. The authors predicted that acculturation would serve as a mediator between health locus of control and health-related Internet use, age and health-related Internet use, income and health-related Internet use, and education and health-related Internet use. Data were collected via a 25-minute self-report questionnaire. The sample consisted of 932 young (M age = 21.27 years), low-income Latinas. Using structural equation modeling, the authors observed that acculturation partially mediated the relation between health locus of control and health-related Internet use and fully mediated the relations among age, income, and Internet use. An internal health locus of control (p < .001), younger age (p < .001), and higher income (p < .001) were associated with higher levels of acculturation. Higher levels of acculturation (p < .001) and an internal health locus of control (p < .004) predicted health-related Internet use. The Internet is a powerful tool that can be used to effectively disseminate information to Latinas with limited access to health care professionals. These findings can inform the design of Internet-based health information dissemination studies targeting Latinas.

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