Online Cancer Information

I recently completed a project examining the ways in which loved ones of cancer patients utilize online health information. This survey and interview study examined how often these individuals go online for cancer information, what types of sites and content they view, and how what they read has both emotional and behavioral effects. This research found that the vast majority of patients’ loved ones do use the Internet as an information source, and most go online multiple times. The strongest emotion reported in response to reading online cancer information was fear, which was linked to several negative behaviors (e.g., avoidance). However, reading cancer information also led to high levels of compassion and several positive behaviors, such as taking action to help the patient. I recently discussed the findings of this research in a radio interview for Top of Mind with Julie Rose.  Results from this research have also been published in the Journal of Health Psychology and CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing.