Health and the information nonseeker: a profile

Health Commun. 2006;20(2):131-9. doi: 10.1207/s15327027hc2002_4.


Despite increased information-seeking by the public, a significant percentage of those diagnosed with a serious disease such as cancer report that they do not seek or receive health information beyond that given by health care providers. This study attempts to profile these nonseekers and study possible determinants of nonseeking behaviors. Data come from the 2003 Health Information National Trends Survey, a national survey of American adults conducted by the National Cancer Institute ( N = 6,133; Nelson et al., 2004). Individuals were categorized as nonseekers or seekers and then further classified based on cancer history to yield 4 groups: nonseeker patients, the nonseeker public, seeker patients, and the seeker public. Compared to other groups, nonseeker patients came from the lowest income and education groups, and scored lower on attention to health in the media and trust in mass media health information. Nonseekers also scored lower on preventative health behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Ethnicity / psychology
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Socioeconomic Factors