Connecting with Ourselves and Others Online: Psychological Aspects of Online Health Communication

Connecting with Ourselves and Others Online: Psychological Aspects of Online Health Communication

Jan-Are K. Johnsen (Norwegian Centre for Telemedicine, University Hospital of North Norway, Norway)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-016-5.ch003
OnDemand PDF Download:


In this chapter, we look at some fundamental aspects of communicating about ourselves and our health through technology. In particular, we examine how the social psychological theories of self-presentation and self-regulation might be applied to online health-communication. It is argued that the specific qualities of text-based communication might have unique benefits for health-communication through the interplay between the writing process and the concerns posed by health-issues. An understanding of how psychological processes are connected with online health communication is believed to be fundamental in understanding trends within self-help and user-driven health communication, and to predict possible outcomes of such behavior. Also, this knowledge might inform the design and development of patient-centered solutions for health-communication and heath-service delivery.
Chapter Preview

Theories Of Computer - Mediated Communication

Quite simply, CMC can be defined as communication between two or more individuals using computers. This includes use of e-mail, instant messaging, chat, as well as similar functionalities offered through mobile phones such as the Short Messaging System (SMS).

Much of the research within the multidisciplinary field of CMC is based on the idea that different communication media affect the communication process and its outcomes based on the way information can be transmitted in a particular medium. A basic assumption is that media differ in terms of “richness,” defined as a medium’s ability to change understanding within a time interval, for instance measured by performance on persuasion tasks (e.g., how well are we able to get our view across to another person). This term was introduced through the media richness theory (MRT) (Daft & Lengel, 1986), which claimed that the richness of a medium could be judged by looking at four criteria: feedback, multiple cues, language variety, and personal focus. Accordingly, face-to-face communication was viewed as the richest medium, followed by telephone, e-mail and letters. Later, the emergence of real-time, interactive video would be viewed as somewhere between face-to-face and telephone with regards to richness (e.g., Isaacs, Whittaker, Frohlich, & O‘Conaill, 1994). Developed for research on use of communication technology in organizations, MRT specifically claimed that rich media would be best suited to equivocal tasks, while written media (lower degrees of richness) would be suited for unequivocal tasks. Despite the fact that MRT was hardly meant to explain the informal social phenomena that have unfolded on the Internet during the past 10 years, it has nevertheless dominated research on online social interactions.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Joseph Tan
E. Vance Wilson
Chapter 1
Juanita Dawson, Bengisu Tulu, Thomas A. Horan
This chapter provides a conceptual foundation by exploring the existing literature on traditional healthcare, patient-centered healthcare, and the... Sample PDF
Towards Patient-Centered Care: The Role of E-Health in Enabling Patient Access to Health Information
Chapter 2
Alejandro Mauro
This chapter introduces a series of techniques and tools useful for developing patient-centered e-health. As information technology (IT) is... Sample PDF
Patient-Centered E-Health Design
Chapter 3
Jan-Are K. Johnsen
In this chapter, we look at some fundamental aspects of communicating about ourselves and our health through technology. In particular, we examine... Sample PDF
Connecting with Ourselves and Others Online: Psychological Aspects of Online Health Communication
Chapter 4
Ebrahim Randeree
An increasing focus on e-health and a governmental push to improve healthcare quality while giving patients more control of their health data have... Sample PDF
Personal Health Records: Patients in Control
Chapter 5
Elaine A. Blechman
Newly disabled workers are often unemployed, uninsured, and indigent. They are in desperate need of Social Security OASDI monthly benefits, and the... Sample PDF
Disability Determinations and Personal Health Records
Chapter 6
E-Health Marketing  (pages 70-80)
Muhammad F. Walji, John A. Valenza, Jiajie Zhang
In this chapter, we review key concepts, using the marketing mix framework, to identify the needs of healthcare consumers, and the tools and... Sample PDF
E-Health Marketing
Chapter 7
Olli P. Järvinen
This chapter introduces the privacy management framework as a means of studying patient-centered e-health. The chapter raises some important issues... Sample PDF
Privacy Management of Patient-Centered E-Health
Chapter 8
Richard Klein
Patient-centered e-health (PCEH) offerings see the emergence of divergent, new third parties, through initiatives, including (a) medical content... Sample PDF
Trust in Patient-Centered E-Health
Chapter 9
John Powell, Natalie Armstrong
This chapter deals with the principles and practice of patient and public involvement in e-health research, and discusses some of the issues raised.... Sample PDF
Involving Patients and the Public in E-Health Research
Chapter 10
Stefano Forti, Barbara Purin, Claudio Eccher
This chapter presents a case study of using interaction design methods for exploring and testing usability and user experience of a Personal Health... Sample PDF
Using Interaction Design to Improve Usability of a PHR User Interface Based on Visual Elements
Chapter 11
Jiao Ma
This chapter explores the use of Web sites to provide patients with understandable information about the quality and price of healthcare (healthcare... Sample PDF
Healthcare Quality and Cost Transparency Using Web-Based Tools
Chapter 12
Ann L. Fruhling
This chapter is drawn from a comprehensive study that examined the effect Human-Computer Interaction usability factors had on rural residents’... Sample PDF
Perceptions of E-Health in Rural Communities
Chapter 13
Elizabeth Cummings, Stephen Chau, Paul Turner
This chapter explores how in developing patient-centred e-health systems it is possible to accommodate heterogeneous characteristics of end-users... Sample PDF
Assessing a Patient-Centered E-Health Approach to Chronic Disease Self-Management
Chapter 14
Michel J. Sassene
This chapter investigates asthmatics’ reasons for not adopting an e-health system for asthma selfmanagement. An understanding of these reasons is... Sample PDF
Incompatible Images: Asthmatics' Non-Use of an E-Health System for Asthma Self-Management
Chapter 15
Linda M. Gallant, Cynthia Irizarry, Gloria M. Boone
An extended version of the technology acceptance model (TAM) is applied to study hospital Web sites, one specific area of e-health. In a review of... Sample PDF
Exploring the Technology Adoption Needs of Patients Using E-Health
Chapter 16
E. Vance Wilson, Nancy K. Lankton
This chapter presents a new rational-objective (R-O) model of e-health use that accounts for effects of facilitating conditions as well as patients’... Sample PDF
Predicting Patients' Use of Provider-Delivered E-Health: The Role of Facilitating Conditions
About the Contributors