U.S. adults living with chronic disease are significantly less likely than healthy adults to have access to the internet (62% vs. 81%). The internet access gap creates an online health information gap. However, lack of internet access, not lack of interest in the topic, is the primary reason for the difference. Once online, having a chronic disease increases the probability that someone will take advantage of social media to share what they know and learn from their peers.
When other demographic factors are held constant, having a chronic disease significantly increases an internet user's likelihood to say they work on a blog or contribute to an online discussion, a listserv, or other online group forum that helps people with personal issues or health problems.
Living with chronic disease is also associated, once someone is online, with a greater likelihood to access user-generated health content such as blog posts, hospital reviews, doctor reviews, and podcasts. These resources allow an internet user to dive deeply into a health topic, using the internet as a communications tool, not simply an information vending machine.
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About the Survey
This report is based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates between November 19 to December 20, 2008, among a national sample of 2,253 adults. A combination of landline and cellular random digit dial (RDD) samples was used to represent all adults who have access to either a landline or cellular telephone. Interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish. For results based on the national sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 2.3 percentage points. For results based on internet users (n=1,650), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. For results based on adults living with chronic disease (n=917), the margin of sampling error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. You can read more about the methodology in the report
, or download the topline as a separate PDF