Technology Impact on New Adult Behavior about Health Information

Technology Impact on New Adult Behavior about Health Information

Lesley Farmer
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6260-5.ch005
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New adults, between 18 and 25 years old, need and want information about health issues. Even though new adults tend to prefer asking people for help, increasingly they access digital resources because of the Internet's availability, affordability, and anonymity. Health information interests vary by age, gender, social situation, and motivation. Several concerns also impact how new adults access and seek that information. This chapter discusses several issues related to new adult technology use for seeking health information and offers recommendations to insure optimal community education and services to address health information needs of all new adults.
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New Adult Information Seeking Behaviors

Seeking health information is a normal new adult task, part of the maturation process. Such seeking is part of new adults’ exploration of themselves and the world around them (Agosto & Hughes-Hassell, 2006). The range of health information sought by new adults demonstrates varied needs: illnesses, accidents, chronic conditions, STDs including HIV/AIDS, nutrition, fitness, sexual activity, pregnancy, and mental health issues. The most popular topics deal with sexual health and drugs (Eysenbach, 2008). New adults tend to seek information out of need or fear, such as a personal problem, rather than as a proactive effort to be healthy, such as eating nutritionally (Larsen & Martey, 2011). Nor did they tend to look for pain management advice (Henderson, et al., 2013); it should be noted that those who did seek such information tended to be female risk-takers or self-medicators. As another instance, new adults seldom used online abstinence information, althought they were more likely to look for to find contraceptions than younger teens. On the other hand, they would look for information that might avoid “genes as destiny” syndrome or counteract past poor health choices. Some may also seek health information to address some kind of social stigma that is health-based, such as acne (Lariscy, Reber, & Paek, 2011). However, a lack of guaranteed privacy makes new adults wary about accessing LGBT or HIV information (Magee et al., 2012).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Information Behavior: How people interact with information.

Health Literacy: The ability to access, comprehend, evaluate, and apply health information.

Community Education: Education within the community, for the community, by the community; usually associated with community-based non-formal adult education.

Information Mediary (Infomediary): An agent that facilitates the interaction between information and information seeker.

Social media: Interactive web-based tools such as blogs, wikis and social networking websites; Web 2.0.

Millennials: People born between 1980 and 2000.

New Adult: Individuals who are 18 to 25 years old.

Mobile Device: A portable technological piece of equipment, usually with a computer chip or processing unit (e.g., handheld device, laptop, smart phone).

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