Digital Diversity or Digital Divide: An Exploratory Research on Age, Gender, Race and Income Characteristics of Online Health Information Users

By Gül Seçkin.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As a characteristic of modern society, the Internet has led to an information revolution and has become an essential information resource. Most patients use the Internet to gather information about their health problems, treatment options and even to check the credentials of their treating physicians. This paper presents results of a cross-sectional study (n=375) with online cancer patients. Results demonstrated that using the Internet health web sites is a characteristic of individuals with high levels of education and income. Most of the respondents were Caucasian women. Results are indicative of a larger social pattern that gender based digital divide in regards to utilization of health information web sites has narrowed down. However, race, education, and income based digital divide still characterized the sample. Finally, the data showed that older adults still lag behind the younger cohorts of Internet health web site users. This paper concludes with a discussion of some potential strategies that can be taken to reduce the digital divide and increase digital diversity.

Keywords: Digital, Health, Race, Gender, Age, Social Class, Cancer, Information

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.99-116. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 788.700KB).

Dr. Gül Seçkin

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Baltimore, Maryland, USA


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