Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


School of Journalism and Mass Communications

First Advisor

Brett Robertson


Online information-seeking has become common in modern life, including when patients search for health information to make informed healthcare decisions. Previous research into the effect of online information-seeking on health maintenance behaviors has been mixed. This study sought to expand the current literature concerning the online information-seeking habits of cancer patients and integrate the concept of competence to analyze the effect on cancer screening adherence. The study analyzed HINTS 6 data to examine the relationship between online information-seeking and cancer screening intention as well as the relationship between social media habits and cancer beliefs. Results showed support for competence resulting from online information-seeking to serve as an effective predictor of cancer screening intention. This resulted in the recommendation for healthcare providers to encourage their patients to utilize online health information resources. Results also showed a significant relationship between social media habits and cancer worry, supporting the idea that social media use impacts health issue awareness. This study also found a difference between those who have had cancer and those who have not when it comes to the impact that social media usage had on cancer efficacy beliefs. This led to the supposition that cancer patients have already formed strong beliefs surrounding cancer prevention efficacy, which are not easily swayed by increased exposure to cancer information on social media, while those who have not had cancer may be more likely influenced by the amount of cancer information they encounter.


© 2023, Rachel Aileen Ford

Available for download on Saturday, August 31, 2024