Examining the role of the Internet in health behaviour

Elizabeth Sillence and Pam Briggs

in Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology

Published in print February 2009 | ISBN: 9780199561803
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743771 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Examining the role of the Internet in health behaviour

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  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology


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This article explores the role of the Internet in health behaviour, with particular emphasis on the issue of trust and trusting behaviours, as this is seen as key to determining the impact of the Internet on health outcomes. It is organized as follows. The first section discusses the role of the Internet in the context of health information and advice, exploring broader issues such as user motivation and outcomes in terms of perceived health benefits, as well as interactions with healthcare professionals. The article then goes on to examine the types of health websites available, and explores issues of advice and information quality. The following section examines the context of trust in relation to online health advice and information, and presents a staged model of trust that helps reconcile differences in the literature. The last section presents a validation of the staged model through in-depth, longitudinal qualitative work.

Keywords: Internet; trust; trusting behaviour; health outcomes; health information; health websites; online health advice

Article.  8513 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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