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Health Information Avoidance as Uncertainty Management

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Abstract:

Uncertainty is a dominant feature of the experience of health. Past research has assumed that the response to uncertainty will be reducing that uncertainty through information seeking, but health information avoiding is another important potential response. This paper means to investigate those situations in which information might be avoided, so that uncertainty might be maintained or even increased. Narratives about avoiding information were solicited from 507 undergraduate students. Participants offered reasons for avoiding information including wanting to maintain the possibility of denial, feeling overexposed to a topic, feeling that no (or no more) action can be taken, finding the available information or source flawed in some way, managing negative emotional reactions, maintaining boundaries, protecting privacy, and avoiding interference with enjoyable or habitual activities. Reasons not to avoid included personal characteristics, a general interest in learning, a need to take action (or be prepared to), the importance of health issues generally, and the dangers of avoiding health issues. Participants also described how they would avoid information including reframing how they thought about a health issue, avoiding health care providers, blocking pop-ups, turning off the T.V. or changing the channel, avoiding tests, avoiding telling others, avoiding health campaigns, purposefully not paying attention, changing the topic, and denying or withholding the truth about a health issue. The results demonstrate that information avoiding can and does occur. The results indicate that a range of emotions involved in information avoiding, and strategies maybe used in conjunction with one another to manage uncertainty.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

health (188), particip (183), avoid (175), inform (174), uncertainti (91), wrote (69), issu (66), also (65), want (62), know (53), colleg (52), peopl (50), manag (49), may (45), hear (44), student (44), buffer (41), ill (39), exampl (35), get (32), reason (31),

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uncertainty management, information avoiding
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association
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http://www.icahdq.org


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MLA Citation:

Barbour, Joshua., Rintamaki, Lance. and Brashers, Dale. "Health Information Avoidance as Uncertainty Management" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY, <Not Available>. 2009-05-25 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p13292_index.html>

APA Citation:

Barbour, J. B., Rintamaki, L. S. and Brashers, D. E. "Health Information Avoidance as Uncertainty Management" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Sheraton New York, New York City, NY Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2009-05-25 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p13292_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Uncertainty is a dominant feature of the experience of health. Past research has assumed that the response to uncertainty will be reducing that uncertainty through information seeking, but health information avoiding is another important potential response. This paper means to investigate those situations in which information might be avoided, so that uncertainty might be maintained or even increased. Narratives about avoiding information were solicited from 507 undergraduate students. Participants offered reasons for avoiding information including wanting to maintain the possibility of denial, feeling overexposed to a topic, feeling that no (or no more) action can be taken, finding the available information or source flawed in some way, managing negative emotional reactions, maintaining boundaries, protecting privacy, and avoiding interference with enjoyable or habitual activities. Reasons not to avoid included personal characteristics, a general interest in learning, a need to take action (or be prepared to), the importance of health issues generally, and the dangers of avoiding health issues. Participants also described how they would avoid information including reframing how they thought about a health issue, avoiding health care providers, blocking pop-ups, turning off the T.V. or changing the channel, avoiding tests, avoiding telling others, avoiding health campaigns, purposefully not paying attention, changing the topic, and denying or withholding the truth about a health issue. The results demonstrate that information avoiding can and does occur. The results indicate that a range of emotions involved in information avoiding, and strategies maybe used in conjunction with one another to manage uncertainty.

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Document Type: application/pdf
Page count: 35
Word count: 9798
Text sample:
Health Information Avoidance 1 Running head: HEALTH INFORMATION AVOIDANCE Health Information Avoidance as Uncertainty Management Please do not cite without contacting the first author. Health Information Avoidance 2 Abstract Uncertainty is a dominant feature of the experience of health. Past research has assumed that the response to uncertainty will be reducing that uncertainty through information seeking but health information avoiding is another important potential response. This paper means to investigate those situations in which information might be avoided so
Monographs 57 231-279. Health Information Avoidance 35 Rimal R. N. (2001). Perceived risk and self-efficacy as motivators: Understanding individuals’ long-term use of health information. Journal of Communication 51 633-654. Sigman S. J. (1985). Some common mistakes students learn when learning discourse analysis. Communication Education 34 119-127. Strauss A. L. & Corbin J. (1990). Basics of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques. Newbury Park CA: Sage. Zak-Place J. & Stern M. (2004). Health belief factor and dispositional optimism as


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