This study describes the use of the Internet for health information research by patients attending a gynecologic oncology practice and examines the association between its use and anxiety. A self-administered survey assessed patients’ demographic information and Internet use. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) were administered concurrently. Of 212 patients who consented to the study, 98 (46%) had an appointment because of a cancer diagnosis. Of 199 respondents, 91 (46%) reported searching the Internet for information about their condition. Internet searching was unassociated with race/ethnicity and positively associated with education level, annual household income, and married/partnered civil status. Only 16% of the patients reported that a health-care provider recommended use of the Internet for research. Comparing patients who used the Internet for research with those who did not, the STAI state and trait anxiety scores were similar. The HADS anxiety subscale score was higher for those who used the Internet versus those who did not, which suggests heightened anxiety. Internet use for research is common in gynecologic oncology patients, and its use is associated with increased anxiety. Physicians can use this medium to educate patients about their disease, build trust, and alleviate fear.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Library and Information Sciences