Online health information seeking behaviors of hispanics in new york city: A community-based cross-sectional study

Young Ji Lee, Bernadette Boden-Albala, Elaine Larson, Adam Wilcox, Suzanne Bakken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


The emergence of the Internet has increased access to health information and can facilitate active individual engagement in health care decision making. Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in the United States and are also the most underserved in terms of access to online health information. A growing body of literature has examined correlates of online health information seeking behaviors (HISBs), but few studies have included Hispanics. Objective: The specific aim of this descriptive, correlational study was to examine factors associated with HISBs of Hispanics. Methods: The study sample (N=4070) was recruited from five postal zip codes in northern Manhattan for the Washington Heights Inwood Informatics Infrastructure for Comparative Effectiveness Research project. Survey data were collected via interview by bilingual community health workers in a community center, households, and other community settings. Data were analyzed using bivariate analyses and logistic regression. Results: Among individual respondents, online HISBs were significantly associated with higher education (OR 3.03, 95% CI 2.15-4.29, P<.001), worse health status (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.31-0.57, P<.001), and having no hypertension (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.43-0.84, P=.003). Online HISBs of other household members were significantly associated with respondent factors: female gender (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.22-2.10, P=.001), being younger (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.62-0.90, P=.002), being married (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.09-1.71, P=.007), having higher education (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.404-2.316, P<.001), being in worse health (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.46-0.77, P<.001), and having serious health problems increased the odds of their household members' online HISBs (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.29-2.60, P=.001). Conclusions: This large-scale community survey identified factors associated with online HISBs among Hispanics that merit closer examination. To enhance online HISBs among Hispanics, health care providers and policy makers need to understand the cultural context of the Hispanic population. Results of this study can provide a foundation for the development of informatics-based interventions to improve the health of Hispanics in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Consumer health information
  • Health behavior
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Information seeking behavior
  • Internet


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