Utilization of internet technology by low-income adults: The role of health literacy, health numeracy, and computer assistance

Jakob D. Jensen, Andy J. King, Lashara A. Davis, Lisa M. Guntzviller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To examine whether low-income adults utilization of Internet technology is predicted or mediated by health literacy, health numeracy, and computer assistance. Method: Low-income adults (N = 131) from the midwestern United States were surveyed about their technology access and use. Results: Individuals with low health literacy skills were less likely to use Internet technology (e.g., email, search engines, and online health information seeking), and those with low health numeracy skills were less likely to have access to Internet technology (e.g., computers and cell phones). Consistent with past research, males, older participants, and those with less education were less likely to search for health information online. The relationship between age and online health information seeking was mediated by participant literacy. Discussion: The present study suggests that significant advances in technology access and use could be sparked by developing technology interfaces that are accessible to individuals with limited literacy skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-826
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Volume22
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2010

Keywords

  • computer assistance
  • health literacy
  • mediation
  • numeracy
  • underserved populations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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