Nehama Lewis, Nancy Shekter-Porat, Huda Nasir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter defines and conceptualizes health information seeking (HIS), a core construct in health communication that has been shown to impact a range of psychosocial outcomes and behaviors. We discuss ways in which HIS has changed in the digital age and how these changes are reflected in published research. We conducted a narrative review of 170 published studies to assess the breadth and diversity of conceptual and methodological approaches used to examine HIS. Our sample includes research in five communication journals (two flagship health communication journals and three leading communication journals) that was published between 2010 and 2020. We analyze and discuss (a) theories used to study HIS, (b) the (health) contexts in which HIS was examined, (c) the populations studied, (d) the research methods and measures used, and (e) the channels for HIS that were examined. We identify methodological advances that enable new directions for research on HIS. We also note new research on negative effects of information seeking, such as effects on risk behaviors (e-cigarettes and substance use). Finally, we call for a reconsideration of theories and concepts used to study health-information-seeking behaviors to ensure these are adapted to our digital information environment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Health Communication, Third Edition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781000451375
ISBN (Print)9780367487447
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor and Francis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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