Health information-seeking behaviors of family caregivers: Analysis of the health information national trends survey

Lauren R. Bangerter, Joan Griffin, Kristin Harden, Lila J. Rutten

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The growing population of aging adults relies on informal caregivers to help meet their health care needs, get help with decision making, and gather health information. Objective: The objective of this study was to examine health information-seeking behaviors among caregivers and to identify caregiver characteristics that contribute to difficulty in seeking health information. Methods: Data from the Health Information National Trends Survey 5, Cycle 1 (N=3181) were used to compare health information seeking of caregivers (n=391) with noncaregivers (n=2790). Results: Caregivers sought health information for themselves and others using computers, smartphones, or other electronic means more frequently than noncaregivers. Caregivers born outside of the United States reported greater difficulty seeking health information (beta=.42; P=.02). Nonwhite caregivers (beta =−.33; P=.03), those with less education (beta =−.35; P=.02), those with private insurance (beta =−.37; P=.01), and those without a regular health care provider (beta =−.35; P=.01) had less confidence seeking health information. Caregivers with higher income had more confidence (beta =.12; P≤.001) seeking health information. Conclusions: This study highlights the prevalence of electronic means to find health information among caregivers. Notable differences in difficulty and confidence in health information seeking exist between caregivers, indicating the need for more attention to the socioeconomic status and caregivers born outside of the United States. Findings can guide efforts to optimize caregivers' health information-seeking experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11237
JournalJMIR Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Disparities
  • Family caregivers
  • Health Information National Trends Survey
  • Internet use
  • Mobile phone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Health Informatics
  • Health(social science)


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