A literature review on the socio-demographic characteristics of women who seek web-based health information.

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Mulauzi, Felesia
Akakandelwa, Akakandelwa
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The University of Zambia Press
The Web has become one of the important sources of health information for most people. This study explored the socio-demographic characteristics of women who seek health information on the Web. Specifically, the study sought to establish the gender gap in Internet usage for health information, the sociodemographic characteristics of women who seek health information on the Web and the situational factors that may affect women to access web-based health information. Literature was reviewed from a variety of sources including Sage journals, ScienceDirect, BMJ journals, BioMed Central Medical Education Journal, Journal of Medical Internet Research using a range of search terms to retrieve literature relevant to the aims of the review. Additionally, Google was used to search for grey literature on the topic. Only sources published in English were consulted from 1997 to 2017. Also, the chosen sources were those restricted to factors influencing “online,” “web,” or “internet” health information seeking. The findings revealed that women are more likely than men to search for health information on the Web. Age, income, education, occupation, gender and marital status were found to be significant factors in as far as access to web-based health information is concerned. Furthermore, the findings revealed that family care giving role, Internet access, web experience, time, place of residence and primary language affect women’s access to web-based health information. The study recommends that information providers and policy makers should create an enabling environment for all women regardless of their status to access online health information. For instance, making Internet accessible and affordable in both rural and urban areas can assist to bridge the digital divide.
Online health information behaviour. , E-health. , Women’s health. , World Wide Web. , Information access barriers. , Internet access. , Health information.