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Parents of children with cancer distrust and fear online sources of health information, study shows
Date:3/21/2012

rage had examined how the Internet was breaking down barriers between patients and caregivers and their physicians. But that wasn't that case in our study," Gage says. "Perhaps because of the severity of the diagnosis, parents and caregivers preferred to receive their information from sources other than the Internet."

The information-seeking behavior of parents and other caregivers appears to be influenced by the volume of available information, Gage says. Patients with routine illnesses might find minor details online that better inform their conversations with health care providers, but respondents in this study who were confronting a more serious diagnosis were overwhelmed by the often conflicting sources of online material.

"Families in our study did not know where to begin or how to sift through such a huge mound of information," Gage said.

Those who did look for information through the Internet tended to limit their searches to what they considered more credible sources, such as medical journals and hospital libraries, the study found.

"A lot of families used the Internet to establish connections with other families in a similar situation, as much for emotional support as for reasons to share medical information," Gage says. "However, many families ascribed a certain expert status upon these individuals, almost elevating the experience of what they call 'the veterans' to the same level as that of a trusted hospital-based site."


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Contact: Bert Gambini
gambini@buffalo.edu
716-645-5334
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

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