Understanding Facilitators and Barriers of Online Cancer Information Utilization among Cancer Survivors and their Families: Focus on the Theory of Planned Behavior

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Division of Nursing, Research Institute of Nursing Science, Hallym University, Republic of Korea.

2 Department of Health Management and Policy, School of Medicine, Kangwon National University, Republic of Korea.


Objective: Cancer survivors have various health care needs and are willing to be proactive with their health maintenance. Online information would be a useful resource to guide cancer survivors and their family members. Therefore, identifying the factors that influence Internet searching behaviors among cancer survivors and their family members is a first step toward providing better health care services for cancer care. Methods: We performed focus group interviews that were based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, with thirty-one participants to explore factors related to Internet search behaviors among cancer survivors and their family members. Results: Six themes were identified in the analysis of participant interviews. Attitudes toward searching for health information on the Internet included the themes “Fulfilling unmet needs” and “Confirmation through second opinion.” Themes related to social norms included “a required step for sure” and “helping each other.” In terms of perceived behavioral control, themes included “difficult to choose because of being ‘overwhelmed with information,’” and “complex searching milieu.” Conclusion: It was clear that cancer survivors and their family members had unmet needs for maintaining their health status. They wanted to be informed and actively involved in the decision-making process regarding health management. Consultation and education provided to patients by doctors should not only include information on diet and nutrition but also information on the resulting complications to satisfy their need for reliable health information.


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