An Ecological View of Internet Health Information Seeking Behavior Predictors: Findings from the CHAIN Study

Joshua K Calvert*, 1, Angela A Aidala2, Josh H West3
1 University of Washington. School of Medicine, USA
2 Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, USA
3 Brigham Young University, USA

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© Calvert et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the University of Washington, School of Medicine, USA; Tel: 425-223-7567; E-mail:



The purpose of the study was to further elucidate proximal and distal demographic and social predictors of Internet Health Information Seeking Behavior (IHISB) among a cohort of HIV+ individuals through an ecological framework.


The Community Health Advisory & Information Network (CHAIN) project is an ongoing prospective study of a representative sample of persons living with HIV/AIDS in New York City and the Tri-County region. The study sample was drawn from a two-stage randomized technique with the clients of 43 medical and social service organizations with 693 HIV+ participants. Bivariate correlations were computed between IHISB and independent demographic variables in ecological blocks. Multivariate hierarchical logistic regression was used to test association between blocks of variables and IHISB.


Among the surveyed respondents (n=645) 50.3% indicated that they used the Internet. Being above the poverty line, having less than a high school education, and having fewer neighbors were statistically significant predictors of IHISB related to HIV.


The benefits of accessing the Internet may influence health behavior and may be considered a target for interventions that aim to increase access to health related information online. Coupled with increased access, is the need for increased patient education interventions, and creative managed care approaches to ensure that information gleaned from online sources is interpretable and accurate in order to benefit the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Keywords: : Internet health information seeking behavior, PLWHA, HIV/AIDS, ecological model..