Trusting social media as a source of health information: Online surveys comparing the United States, Korea, and Hong Kong

Hayeon Song, Kikuko Omori, Jihyun Kim, Kelly E. Tenzek, Jennifer Morey Hawkins, Wan Ying Lin, Yong Chan Kim, Joo Young Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The Internet has increasingly become a popular source of health information by connecting individuals with health content, experts, and support. More and more, individuals turn to social media and Internet sites to share health information and experiences. Although online health information seeking occurs worldwide, limited empirical studies exist examining cross-cultural differences in perceptions about user-generated, experience-based information compared to expertise-based information sources. Objective: To investigate if cultural variations exist in patterns of online health information seeking, specifically in perceptions of online health information sources. It was hypothesized that Koreans and Hongkongers, compared to Americans, would be more likely to trust and use experience-based knowledge shared in social Internet sites, such as social media and online support groups. Conversely, Americans, compared to Koreans and Hongkongers, would value expertise-based knowledge prepared and approved by doctors or professional health providers more. Methods: Survey questionnaires were developed in English first and then translated into Korean and Chinese. The back-translation method ensured the standardization of questions. Surveys were administered using a standardized recruitment strategy and data collection methods. Results: A total of 826 participants living in metropolitan areas from the United States (n=301), Korea (n=179), and Hong Kong (n=337) participated in the study. We found significant cultural differences in information processing preferences for online health information. A planned contrast test revealed that Koreans and Hongkongers showed more trust in experience-based health information sources (blogs: t451.50=11.21, P<.001; online support group: t455.71=9.30, P<.001; social networking sites [SNS]: t466.75=11.36, P<.001) and also reported using blogs (t515.31=6.67, P<.001) and SNS (t529.22=4.51, P<.001) more frequently than Americans. Americans showed a stronger preference for using expertise-based information sources (eg, WebMD and CDC) compared to Koreans and Hongkongers (t360.02=3.01, P=.003). Trust in expertise-based information sources was universal, demonstrating no cultural differences (Brown-Forsythe F2,654=1.82, P=.16). Culture also contributed significantly to differences in searching information on behalf of family members (t480.38=5.99, P<.001) as well as to the goals of information searching. Conclusions: This research found significant cultural differences in information processing preferences for online health information. Further discussion is included regarding effective communication strategies in providing quality health information.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere25
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar

Fingerprint

Social Media
Hong Kong
Korea
Health
Blogging
Social Networking
Internet
Self-Help Groups
Automatic Data Processing
Surveys and Questionnaires
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.)

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Informatics

Cite this

Song, Hayeon ; Omori, Kikuko ; Kim, Jihyun ; Tenzek, Kelly E. ; Hawkins, Jennifer Morey ; Lin, Wan Ying ; Kim, Yong Chan ; Jung, Joo Young. / Trusting social media as a source of health information : Online surveys comparing the United States, Korea, and Hong Kong. In: Journal of medical Internet research. 2016 ; Vol. 18, No. 3.
@article{78b60b7e3f2d4406aa52c147cdafbb57,
title = "Trusting social media as a source of health information: Online surveys comparing the United States, Korea, and Hong Kong",
abstract = "Background: The Internet has increasingly become a popular source of health information by connecting individuals with health content, experts, and support. More and more, individuals turn to social media and Internet sites to share health information and experiences. Although online health information seeking occurs worldwide, limited empirical studies exist examining cross-cultural differences in perceptions about user-generated, experience-based information compared to expertise-based information sources. Objective: To investigate if cultural variations exist in patterns of online health information seeking, specifically in perceptions of online health information sources. It was hypothesized that Koreans and Hongkongers, compared to Americans, would be more likely to trust and use experience-based knowledge shared in social Internet sites, such as social media and online support groups. Conversely, Americans, compared to Koreans and Hongkongers, would value expertise-based knowledge prepared and approved by doctors or professional health providers more. Methods: Survey questionnaires were developed in English first and then translated into Korean and Chinese. The back-translation method ensured the standardization of questions. Surveys were administered using a standardized recruitment strategy and data collection methods. Results: A total of 826 participants living in metropolitan areas from the United States (n=301), Korea (n=179), and Hong Kong (n=337) participated in the study. We found significant cultural differences in information processing preferences for online health information. A planned contrast test revealed that Koreans and Hongkongers showed more trust in experience-based health information sources (blogs: t451.50=11.21, P<.001; online support group: t455.71=9.30, P<.001; social networking sites [SNS]: t466.75=11.36, P<.001) and also reported using blogs (t515.31=6.67, P<.001) and SNS (t529.22=4.51, P<.001) more frequently than Americans. Americans showed a stronger preference for using expertise-based information sources (eg, WebMD and CDC) compared to Koreans and Hongkongers (t360.02=3.01, P=.003). Trust in expertise-based information sources was universal, demonstrating no cultural differences (Brown-Forsythe F2,654=1.82, P=.16). Culture also contributed significantly to differences in searching information on behalf of family members (t480.38=5.99, P<.001) as well as to the goals of information searching. Conclusions: This research found significant cultural differences in information processing preferences for online health information. Further discussion is included regarding effective communication strategies in providing quality health information.",
author = "Hayeon Song and Kikuko Omori and Jihyun Kim and Tenzek, {Kelly E.} and Hawkins, {Jennifer Morey} and Lin, {Wan Ying} and Kim, {Yong Chan} and Jung, {Joo Young}",
year = "2016",
month = "3",
doi = "10.2196/jmir.4193",
language = "English",
volume = "18",
journal = "Journal of Medical Internet Research",
issn = "1439-4456",
publisher = "Journal of medical Internet Research",
number = "3",

}

Trusting social media as a source of health information : Online surveys comparing the United States, Korea, and Hong Kong. / Song, Hayeon; Omori, Kikuko; Kim, Jihyun; Tenzek, Kelly E.; Hawkins, Jennifer Morey; Lin, Wan Ying; Kim, Yong Chan; Jung, Joo Young.

In: Journal of medical Internet research, Vol. 18, No. 3, e25, 03.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Trusting social media as a source of health information

T2 - Online surveys comparing the United States, Korea, and Hong Kong

AU - Song, Hayeon

AU - Omori, Kikuko

AU - Kim, Jihyun

AU - Tenzek, Kelly E.

AU - Hawkins, Jennifer Morey

AU - Lin, Wan Ying

AU - Kim, Yong Chan

AU - Jung, Joo Young

PY - 2016/3

Y1 - 2016/3

N2 - Background: The Internet has increasingly become a popular source of health information by connecting individuals with health content, experts, and support. More and more, individuals turn to social media and Internet sites to share health information and experiences. Although online health information seeking occurs worldwide, limited empirical studies exist examining cross-cultural differences in perceptions about user-generated, experience-based information compared to expertise-based information sources. Objective: To investigate if cultural variations exist in patterns of online health information seeking, specifically in perceptions of online health information sources. It was hypothesized that Koreans and Hongkongers, compared to Americans, would be more likely to trust and use experience-based knowledge shared in social Internet sites, such as social media and online support groups. Conversely, Americans, compared to Koreans and Hongkongers, would value expertise-based knowledge prepared and approved by doctors or professional health providers more. Methods: Survey questionnaires were developed in English first and then translated into Korean and Chinese. The back-translation method ensured the standardization of questions. Surveys were administered using a standardized recruitment strategy and data collection methods. Results: A total of 826 participants living in metropolitan areas from the United States (n=301), Korea (n=179), and Hong Kong (n=337) participated in the study. We found significant cultural differences in information processing preferences for online health information. A planned contrast test revealed that Koreans and Hongkongers showed more trust in experience-based health information sources (blogs: t451.50=11.21, P<.001; online support group: t455.71=9.30, P<.001; social networking sites [SNS]: t466.75=11.36, P<.001) and also reported using blogs (t515.31=6.67, P<.001) and SNS (t529.22=4.51, P<.001) more frequently than Americans. Americans showed a stronger preference for using expertise-based information sources (eg, WebMD and CDC) compared to Koreans and Hongkongers (t360.02=3.01, P=.003). Trust in expertise-based information sources was universal, demonstrating no cultural differences (Brown-Forsythe F2,654=1.82, P=.16). Culture also contributed significantly to differences in searching information on behalf of family members (t480.38=5.99, P<.001) as well as to the goals of information searching. Conclusions: This research found significant cultural differences in information processing preferences for online health information. Further discussion is included regarding effective communication strategies in providing quality health information.

AB - Background: The Internet has increasingly become a popular source of health information by connecting individuals with health content, experts, and support. More and more, individuals turn to social media and Internet sites to share health information and experiences. Although online health information seeking occurs worldwide, limited empirical studies exist examining cross-cultural differences in perceptions about user-generated, experience-based information compared to expertise-based information sources. Objective: To investigate if cultural variations exist in patterns of online health information seeking, specifically in perceptions of online health information sources. It was hypothesized that Koreans and Hongkongers, compared to Americans, would be more likely to trust and use experience-based knowledge shared in social Internet sites, such as social media and online support groups. Conversely, Americans, compared to Koreans and Hongkongers, would value expertise-based knowledge prepared and approved by doctors or professional health providers more. Methods: Survey questionnaires were developed in English first and then translated into Korean and Chinese. The back-translation method ensured the standardization of questions. Surveys were administered using a standardized recruitment strategy and data collection methods. Results: A total of 826 participants living in metropolitan areas from the United States (n=301), Korea (n=179), and Hong Kong (n=337) participated in the study. We found significant cultural differences in information processing preferences for online health information. A planned contrast test revealed that Koreans and Hongkongers showed more trust in experience-based health information sources (blogs: t451.50=11.21, P<.001; online support group: t455.71=9.30, P<.001; social networking sites [SNS]: t466.75=11.36, P<.001) and also reported using blogs (t515.31=6.67, P<.001) and SNS (t529.22=4.51, P<.001) more frequently than Americans. Americans showed a stronger preference for using expertise-based information sources (eg, WebMD and CDC) compared to Koreans and Hongkongers (t360.02=3.01, P=.003). Trust in expertise-based information sources was universal, demonstrating no cultural differences (Brown-Forsythe F2,654=1.82, P=.16). Culture also contributed significantly to differences in searching information on behalf of family members (t480.38=5.99, P<.001) as well as to the goals of information searching. Conclusions: This research found significant cultural differences in information processing preferences for online health information. Further discussion is included regarding effective communication strategies in providing quality health information.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84962045193&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84962045193&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.2196/jmir.4193

DO - 10.2196/jmir.4193

M3 - Article

C2 - 26976273

AN - SCOPUS:84962045193

VL - 18

JO - Journal of Medical Internet Research

JF - Journal of Medical Internet Research

SN - 1439-4456

IS - 3

M1 - e25

ER -