Trust Divide in Health Information Sources? Investigating the Role of Techno-Capital and Social Capital: A Comparative Analysis of General and Low-Income Populations

Jaewon R. Choi, Joseph Straubhaar, Soyoung Park, Maria Skouras, Melissa Santillana, Sharon Strover


Trust in the source of health information has become increasingly critical from the advent of the Internet as a primary health information source. Especially as unauthorized entities now have similar gatekeeping powers in health information as health-care professionals. This study strives to conceptualize the factors that affect people’s trust in different sources of health information. Specifically, this study proposes ICT usage, digital capabilities and skills conceptualized as “techno-capital,” and individuals’ health social network behaviors as critical elements explaining one’s level of trust. Furthermore, this study addresses the ways in which social inequality interacts with these factors by taking advantage of two samples representing different populations within a major U.S. city. Our findings highlight the significance of techno-capital and ICT utilization in explaining the trust of different health information sources as well as the interesting mediating role of health social network behavior in one of the sample populations.


health information, health information trust, techno-capital, social capital, ICT, low-income

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