A prompt to the web: The media and health information seeking behaviour: The media and health information seeking behaviour

Marie Clare B Hogue, Evan Doran, David A. Henry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Objective, Design, Setting and Participants: The objective was to investigate media influence on consumers' health related behaviours. A cross-sectional survey of randomly selected adults (18+ years) residing in the Hunter Region of New South Wales Australia was conducted. The sample was selected using a combination of the white pages and random digit dialling. Main Outcome Measures: The proportions of respondents who recalled seeing or hearing about conditions or treatments in the media over the 12 months prior to interview (August 2009-August 2010) and their subsequent health related behaviour. Results: Although most survey participants reported seeking health information from their doctors, around two-thirds of survey participants (551, 68.8%) recalled hearing, seeing or reading about one or more medical conditions (total = 1097 instances) in the mainstream media over the past 12 months. Almost 40% of respondents (307, 38.4%) stated that they had looked for more information about a condition as a result of hearing about it in the media, and most used the internet (269, 87.4%). More than a quarter of respondents (215, 26.9%) indicated that they had asked their doctor about a condition they had heard about in the media. Around half of those who asked their doctor (109, 50.6%) reported that their inquiry resulted in them receiving treatment, of whom almost half (53, 48.3%) reported being prescribed a medicine. Conclusion: The survey results show that consumers become aware of medicines through traditional media and then to learn more often turn to the internet where quality of information may be poor. (252 words).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere34314
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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