Publication Date

Summer 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Journalism and Mass Communications


Priya Raman


college students, information-seeking, Internet, online health information, self-efficacy, women's health

Subject Areas

Mass Communications; Communication; Health Sciences, Public Health


The arrival of the Internet, one of the greatest mass media vehicles of our time, has presented a wide platform for the dissemination of health information to the American public. A majority of adults in the United States search online for information about various health and medical topics, yet a particular portion of the general public, namely college students, searches for health information online at a higher rate than the general population. Female college students especially have cause to seek information about particular women's health matters that are relevant to their age group.

This study reveals new details about the online search for women's health information among college women, with regards to the content of information searched for, the reasons behind the search, and most importantly, the health care outcomes that college women experienced after the search. Bandura's concept of self-efficacy was examined and applied in an effort to quantify an individual's likelihood of reporting that her online search resulted in a positive effect on her health. An individual's initial level of confidence before the online search was measured on a scale. It was found that a one-unit increase in self-efficacy among respondents before the search increased their odds of reporting a "major" impact on their health afterwards. The odds were increased by a factor of 2.22, or 122.22%