The persistence of digital divides in the use of health information: a comparative study in 28 European countries

Abstract

This study aimed to identify which are the socio-demographic factors that can describe health information users’ profiles in Europe and assess which are the factors distinguishing users and non-users and their association with the use of health-related online information. Methods: Data from the Flash Eurobarometer No. 404 (2014) was analysed through a multilevel logistic regression model and a propensity score matching. Results: There were significant differences in the use of the Internet for health information according to gender, age, education, long-term illness and health-related knowledge. Thus, some digital divides persisted in the use of health information online. Results showed that a poor health status was associated with a higher use of the Internet for health purposes only for people having chronic conditions. Conclusions: Findings show a need to increase people’s eHealth literacy, especially for males over 45 years old not suffering from a long-term illness. In order to limit the misuse of poor or untrustworthy health information that might contribute to higher health disparities, special interest should be focused on population socio-demographic characteristics.

Publication
International Journal of Public Health
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Javier Alvarez-Galvez
Research Fellow (Ramon y Cajal)

PhD by the Complutense University of Madrid. Currently I am working as Ramón y Cajal Research Fellow in the Department of Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Public Health at the University of Cadiz. I have experience teaching courses related with statistics, quantitative methods, multivariate analysis, data analysis and sociology. My main research interests are related with quantitative research methods, social/health systems, social determinants of health, and sociology.