The Internet is increasingly used as an important source of health and medical-related information for people with chronic diseases. It is recognized that online health information seeking (OHIS) is influenced by individuals’ multi-dimensional factors, such as demographics, socio-economic factors, perceptions of the Internet, and health conditions. This study applies the conservation of resource theory to examine relationships between various multi-dimensional factors, daily challenges, and OHIS depending on individuals’ health conditions. The data used in this study was taken from the U.S. Health Tracking Survey (2012). In this study, Internet users aged 18 and older were classified into patients (N = 518) and healthy people (N = 677) based on their health status related to chronic diseases. Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationships between multi-dimensional factors (resources), self-rated health, and OHIS. Patients’ various resources (e.g., age, income, education, having a smartphone, and health tracking) significantly predicted their self-rated health and OHIS; in addition, self-rated health significantly mediated the relationships between focal resources and OHIS. However, the mediating effects of self-rated health were not found in healthy people.
- chronic diseases
- conservation of resource theory
- online health information seeking
- self-rated health