Understanding Health Information Seeking: A Test of the Risk Perception Attitude Framework

Katherine L. Grasso, Robert A Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The authors used the Risk Perception Attitude framework, which is grounded in the Extended Parallel Process Model, to predict people's intentions to seek health information. In an online survey, 689 participants recruited from a crowdsource website were queried about their anticipated health information seeking, perceived risk, and efficacy in response to four scenarios pertaining to hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, alcohol dependence, and diabetes. Each participant was categorized for each scenario as responsive (higher risk, higher efficacy), avoidant (higher risk, lower efficacy), proactive (lower risk, higher efficacy), or indifferent (lower risk, lower efficacy). As predicted, responsive individuals were more likely to seek information than avoidant individuals, but only in three of the four scenarios. Also as expected, there was no difference between proactive and indifferent individuals likelihood of seeking health information for any scenario. Risk and efficacy, while significant predictors of anticipated health information seeking, left much of the variance unexplained. An analysis of the reasons for information seeking and nonseeking among nonconforming cases suggests that a wider range of influences on health information seeking should be investigated, including curiosity, prior knowledge, social expectations, and situational norms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1406-1414
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Communication


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