Internet Uses for General, Health-Related, and Smoking Cessation Information Seeking from Gender and Uses and Gratifications Frameworks

Zhiwen Xiao, Jaesub Lee, Li Zeng


Informed by gender role framework and uses and gratifications theory, this study examines gender differences and factors associated with Internet use utilizing Health Information National Trends Survey data (N = 3,738). Women seek general health and smoking cessation information significantly more than men do; women also use the Internet significantly more to pursue gratifications of information seeking and sharing than men do. Gender deficits in health-information seeking exist. The Internet user profiles are tied to the types of information gratification sought. General nonhealth information seekers are young, highly educated, high-income, not retired/disabled, females with the intention to quit smoking and the belief of changeable smoking behavior; for general health information seekers, the critical characteristic is the belief that getting information is easy; and for smoking cessation information seekers, the prominent features are smoking little with the intention to quit, the belief of changeable smoking behavior, and no frustration felt during the information search. This study extends and advances nuanced differences between men and women in Internet information-seeking behaviors by testing theoretical boundaries for uses and gratifications theory.


information seeking, Internet use, uses and gratification theory, gender difference, smoking

Full Text: