More women go online for health info

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Women are more likely than men to search the Web for health information, according to a survey conducted by researchers from Smithfield, RI's Bryant University.

“Women are much more proactive in terms of their healthcare and are also more likely to be caretakers to children, husbands and parents,” researcher Dr. Janet Morahan-Martin said in an interview with Reuters.

“When it comes to healthcare and information on health, women's online behavior…conforms to their off-line behavior,” she said. “Women are more likely to ask for help than men.”

For their research, Morahan-Martin, a professor of psychology and chair of the department of applied psychology, and Phyllis Schumacher, a mathematician, analyzed the results of four surveys conducted between 2000 and 2004. A total of 1,461 women and 1,317 men who had ever accessed online health info were surveyed over the four years. In all four years, women were more likely than men to be online health seekers, although the difference lessened over time.
The findings were first presented at the American Psychological Association's 115th annual meeting in San Francisco held in August.

Prior studies have shown that men are more apt than women to go online for several specific activities such as information on products and services, weather, news, do-it-yourself, sports scores, financial information and work-related research.

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