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Health-Related Internet Information Both Strengthens and Weakens Parents’ Potential for Self-Care: A Mixed-Methods Study on Parents’ Search Patterns
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences. Region Västernorrland.
Högskolan i Gävle.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7959-606X
Umeå Universitet.
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Nursing Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3907-2197
2018 (English)In: Open Journal of Nursing, ISSN 2162-5336, E-ISSN 2162-5344, Vol. 8, no 10, p. 731-745, article id 88148Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Today’s parents belong to the digital generation and regularly use the Internet as a source of information. Parents’ quests for health-related online information comprise an effort to manage symptoms of illness or address questions about child development which may be an expression of self-management or self-care. Purpose: This study aims to describe health and child development related Internet search patterns used by parents of children ages zero to six, and further, how the obtained information was used in contacts with Child Health Care. Design and Methods: A two-step mixed- method approach is used in this study, comprising both a quantitative and a qualitative approach. First, a questionnaire was distributed to parents (n = 800) at 13 health centers in a medium sized county in Sweden. Second, one narrative interview with two parents total was conducted. Descriptive and non-parametric statistics were calculated, and qualitative manifest content analyses were performed. Results: A total of 687 completed the questionnaire, which corresponds to a response rate of 86%. The results show that 97% used the Internet for health-related and developmental child issues. The results show that parents often look at basic tips and the Internet is seen as a fast and accessible forum to obtain information. Parents often initiated their Internet searches using Google search for the specific subject, but the most common and most used website (used by 95% of parents), was the Swedish health site 1177.se. 98.4% of parents evaluated the general information searches they made on the Internet as reliable despite only 31% of the parents checking to see if the websites they used were scientifically based. Parents (81.7%) stated that they wanted their Child Health Nurses (CHN) to give them recommendations for valid websites. Conclusions: The results in this study show that, on the one hand, the Internet could strengthen parental knowledge (support self-care capacity), but, on the other hand, the found information could worry them and increase their anxiety—negatively affected self-care capacity. The parents suggested that the information should be double-checked to establish trust and develop self-care knowledge. Having a good resource to rely on, such as personal contact with a CHN, or using reliable websites seems to strengthen and reassure parents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Scientific Research Publishing, 2018. Vol. 8, no 10, p. 731-745, article id 88148
Keywords [en]
Health Literacy, Internet Advice, Mixed-Method, Parenting, Self-Care
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-35216DOI: 10.4236/ojn.2018.810055OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-35216DiVA, id: diva2:1270756
Available from: 2018-12-14 Created: 2018-12-14 Last updated: 2018-12-14Bibliographically approved

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Valan, LothaKristiansen, LisbethJong, Mats

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