Active interaction and knowledge contribution are vital yet challenging elements of the sustainable development of online health communities (OHCs). To investigate the cognitive mechanisms underlying these behaviours in doctors' and patients' use of OHCs, this study develops a theoretical model to examine the relationships among cognitive modes, patterns of interaction, perceived usefulness, and contribution behaviour and the impact of user identity on these relationships.
To test the research hypotheses, structural equation modelling and multiple-group analysis were used to analyse survey data from 207 doctors and 213 patients.
The results indicate that dual processes and perceived usefulness are the key cognitive antecedents of interaction and knowledge contribution, respectively. However, the correlation of the rational mode and instrumental interaction is significantly stronger in the doctors' group than in the patients' group, while a stronger correlation between the experiential mode and instrumental interaction is observed in the patients' group.
These findings support the development of information and system strategies to support the operation of dual processes underlying doctors' and patients' instrumental and affective interactions, facilitate evaluation and sense-making of interaction activities, and motivate knowledge contribution.
This study uncovers the invariance and variability in the relationships between salient cognitive activities and behavioural responses in doctors' and patients' use of OHCs and the impact of user identity on variability.
The authors would like to acknowledge reviewers, editors, and all participants for their contribution to the improvement of this study. Funding: This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [No. 71774121] and [No. 72074171].
Wang, P., Wang, J. and Li, Q. (2021), "Cognitive mechanisms underlying interaction and contribution in online health communities: the perspectives of doctors and patients", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 73 No. 3, pp. 367-385. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-03-2020-0063
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