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A Moderating Role of Channel Responsiveness in the Effects of Online Information Source
Unformatted Document Text:  1 INTRODUCTION Convenience of user control, a wealth of information, and anonymity has led the Internet to be a primary information seeking and gathering tool (Flanagin & Metzger, 2000b; Pew Research Center, 2000). Research has showed that individuals rely on the Internet “to get information” far more than other communication channels such as books, magazines, television, newspapers, the telephone, e-mail, and face-to-face communication (Flanagin & Metzger, 2000a). While more Internet users seek non-news information than news or political information on the Internet (Flanagin & Metzger, 2000b), a significant number of them access the Internet for health and medical information (Eastin, 2001; Griffiths, Christensen, & Evans, 2002). According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center (2002), 62 percent of Internet users, or 73 million people in the U.S., have searched health information online. The popular use of the Internet as a source of health information was resulted from a growing desire of individuals, health professionals and health care systems to provide individuals with more responsibility for their health care (Eysenbach & Diepgen, 2001; Pew Research Center, 2000). Individuals wish to assume a more active role in managing their own health, whereas health professionals realize the importance of patient-centered decision-making. This trend is further accelerated by cost-saving pressures in health care systems that try to avoid unnecessary and duplicate services by fully acknowledging the self-help potential of patients and their families (Eysenbach & Diepgen, 2001). In accordance with the trend, Internet users believe that online health information helps them make better life choices and improve health outcomes (Griffiths, et al., 2002; Pew Research Center, 2000, 2002). However, there is increasing concern about the quality of online health information and consequences of misinformation on individuals’ health. On one hand, individuals, especially novice Internet users, do not usually check disclaimers or disclosure statements of Web sites and rarely verify online information with information of other sources, while perceiving online information to be as credible as that found in other media (e.g., magazines, the radio, and television) (Eysenbach & Köhler, 2002; Flanagin & Metzger, 2000b; Pew Research Center,

Authors: Kim, Hyojin. and Stephens, Keri.
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1
INTRODUCTION
Convenience of user control, a wealth of information, and anonymity has led the Internet
to be a primary information seeking and gathering tool (Flanagin & Metzger, 2000b; Pew
Research Center, 2000). Research has showed that individuals rely on the Internet “to get
information” far more than other communication channels such as books, magazines, television,
newspapers, the telephone, e-mail, and face-to-face communication (Flanagin & Metzger,
2000a). While more Internet users seek non-news information than news or political information
on the Internet (Flanagin & Metzger, 2000b), a significant number of them access the Internet for
health and medical information (Eastin, 2001; Griffiths, Christensen, & Evans, 2002).
According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center (2002), 62 percent of Internet users, or
73 million people in the U.S., have searched health information online.
The popular use of the Internet as a source of health information was resulted from a
growing desire of individuals, health professionals and health care systems to provide individuals
with more responsibility for their health care (Eysenbach & Diepgen, 2001; Pew Research
Center, 2000). Individuals wish to assume a more active role in managing their own health,
whereas health professionals realize the importance of patient-centered decision-making. This
trend is further accelerated by cost-saving pressures in health care systems that try to avoid
unnecessary and duplicate services by fully acknowledging the self-help potential of patients and
their families (Eysenbach & Diepgen, 2001). In accordance with the trend, Internet users believe
that online health information helps them make better life choices and improve health outcomes
(Griffiths, et al., 2002; Pew Research Center, 2000, 2002).
However, there is increasing concern about the quality of online health information and
consequences of misinformation on individuals’ health. On one hand, individuals, especially
novice Internet users, do not usually check disclaimers or disclosure statements of Web sites and
rarely verify online information with information of other sources, while perceiving online
information to be as credible as that found in other media (e.g., magazines, the radio, and
television) (Eysenbach & Köhler, 2002; Flanagin & Metzger, 2000b; Pew Research Center,


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