Social media greatly enhances public access to health information and thus attracts older adults who tend to attach more importance to their health. This study aims to identify the factors that contribute to the likelihood of older adults' health information sharing on social media.
By drawing on health belief (HBM) and elaboration likelihood models (ELM), a novel conceptual model integrating older adults' health belief and information processing is established to uncover the factors. Online survey data from 290 Chinese older adult users of WeChat, the most popular social media platform in China, were collected to test the research model.
As health belief-related variables, perceived susceptibility is positively associated with health information-sharing intention (HISI), while perceived severity negatively influences HISI, which is contrary to prior findings. For information processing, the positive impacts of argument quality and source credibility on HISI are fully mediated by perceived usefulness.
This study is one of the first studies to explore the initiative use of information and communication technology among older adults. The new theoretical perspective proposed herein considers health belief and information processing perspectives in a complementary manner and can facilitate an overall analysis of the factors influencing older adults' HISI in a social media context. This study also furthers understandings of the ELM and expands the theory of HBM to take the age of decision makers into account.
This work was supported by the Key Projects of Philosophy and Social Sciences Research of Chinese Ministry of Education [grant number 19JZD021]; the National Natural Science Foundation of China [grant numbers 71501062, 71771210] and the Beijing Natural Science Foundation [grant number 9182008].Declarations of interest: The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.
Shang, L., Zhou, J. and Zuo, M. (2020), "Understanding older adults' intention to share health information on social media: the role of health belief and information processing", Internet Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-12-2019-0512Download as .RIS
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