Perceptions and uses of the Internet as a patient education tool among African-American men with prostate cancer: An exploratory study
Sherrie Lee Wallington, Howard University, United States
Howard University . Awarded
The lives of African-American men with prostate cancer are greatly influenced by the information they have available to them, some of which is found on the Internet. Research has indicated that technologies such as the Internet can enhance the health knowledge of consumers, but they have not reached socioeconomic groups at highest risk for poor health, such as African-American men with prostate cancer. Related to the goal of reducing the prostate cancer disparity and drawing upon the uses and gratifications theory, this qualitative exploratory study used focus group methodology to ascertain the perceptions and use of the Internet as a patient education tool among 39 African-American men 40 years old and older with prostate cancer.
The findings revealed an overall positive perception of the Internet and an existing level of use of the Internet for prostate cancer information, though in varying degrees. Non-users, regardless of age, reported an eager interest in learning to use the Internet and also reported family or friends had searched the Internet on their behalf. Benefits of Internet use were the ability to access the Internet at any time, information, and social support. Factors influencing use or non-use were the prostate cancer diagnosis itself, poor patient-doctor communications, and accessibility. Accessibility related more to lack of ease and familiarity with Internet use than with lack of computer ownership.
The findings suggest that with more training and awareness, the Internet holds great potential as a patient education tool among African-American men with prostate cancer. Findings should be directed toward health organizations developing web-based prostate cancer health messages targeting African-American men with prostate cancer.
Wallington, S.L. Perceptions and uses of the Internet as a patient education tool among African-American men with prostate cancer: An exploratory study. Ph.D. thesis, Howard University.
Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.
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