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Health Info Libr J. 2012 Dec;29(4):296-308. doi: 10.1111/hir.12006. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Cognitive factors predicting intentions to search for health information: an application of the theory of planned behaviour.

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Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Oslo, Norway.



Peoples' ability to obtain health information is a precondition for their effective participation in decision making about health. However, there is limited evidence describing which cognitive factors can predict the intention of people to search for health information.


To test the utility of a questionnaire in predicting intentions to search for health information, and to identify important predictors associated with this intention such that these could be targeted in an Intervention.


A questionnaire was developed based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour and tested on both a mixed population sample (n=30) and a sample of parents (n = 45). The questionnaire was explored by testing for internal consistency, calculating inter-correlations between theoretically-related constructs, and by using multiple regression analysis.


The reliability and validity of the questionnaire were found to be satisfactory and consistent across the two samples. The questionnaires' direct measures prediction of intention was high and accounted for 47% and 55% of the variance in behavioural intentions. Attitudes and perceived behavioural control were identified as important predictors to intention for search for health information.


The questionnaire may be a useful tool for understanding and evaluating behavioural intentions and beliefs related to searches for health information.

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