Women more likely than men to seek online health info: survey

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Researchers from Smithfield, RI's Bryant University found that women are more likely than men to search the Web for health information.

The findings were presented last month at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting in San Francisco.

“Women are much more proactive in terms of their healthcare and are also more likely to be caretakers to children, husbands and parents,” said researcher Dr. Janet Morahan-Martin in a Reuters report. “When it comes to healthcare and information on health, women's online behavior…conforms to their off-line behavior. 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.

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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