JOURNAL ARTICLE

Internet access and online cancer information seeking among Latino immigrants from safety net clinics

Claire Selsky, George Luta, Anne-Michelle Noone, Elmer E Huerta, Jeanne S Mandelblatt
Journal of Health Communication 2013, 18 (1): 58-70
23066874
Internet use is widespread, but little is known about Internet use for cancer information among Latinos, especially those who rely on safety net clinics. The authors investigated access to and intended use of the Internet for cancer information among low income, immigrant Latinos predominately from Central and South America. A cross-sectional study of 1,273 Latinos 21 years and older attending safety net clinics or health fairs was conducted from June 2007 to November 2008. The authors used logistic regression models to evaluate associations of age, acculturation, psychosocial factors and other covariates with Internet access and intended use of the Internet for cancer information among those with access. Of the sample, 44% reported Internet access. Higher information self-efficacy and greater trust in the Internet were independently associated with Internet access (p = .05 and p < .001, respectively). Among those with access, 53.8% reported they intended to seek cancer help online if they needed information. Those with younger age and higher acculturation, education and self-efficacy had higher odds of intended Internet use for cancer information, considering covariates. In addition, those with high (vs. low) perceived risk of cancer (OR = 1.76; 95% CI [1.14, 2.73]; p = .01) and higher levels of trust in online health information (OR = 1.47 per one-point increase; 95% [CI 1.19, 1.82]; p = .0004) were more likely to intend to seek cancer information online. These findings that Internet access is fairly high in the immigrant Latino population and that the Internet is a trusted source of cancer information suggest that the Internet may be a channel for cancer control interventions.

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