Archive for September 24th, 2008

Credibility of Health Information and Digital Media

September 24, 2008

This extensive chapter authored by Gunther Eysenbach appears in a new book titled Digital Media, Youth, and Credibility. He begins by making the case for quality health information, “educating consumers and providers of health information and services about how to avoid “low quality” information becomes paramount.” And then goes on to question internet users’ claims of verifying the reliability of health information. In relationship to youth, he points out that, “Part of the trouble in discerning trustworthy sites from dubious ones is the result of a deficit of context. ”
In relationship to adolescence and health seeking behavior, he uses his newly defined term apomediation, “While personality traits and developmental factors may broadly predispose individuals to generally prefer one approach over the other, the decision to use apomediaries versus intermediaries remains largely dynamic and situational.”
He goes on to discuss the challenges and limitations of this new concept. “people using an apomediary approach
to credibility assessment are probably more prone to employ a “spectral evaluation” rather than a “binary evaluation” approach, acknowledging “shades of grey” rather than “black and white” answers.” In Applying Network Theory to Apomediaries, we encounter another new term: Credibility Hubs. And are encouraged to example source and message creditability. One of the conclusions is that health information websites for children and adolescents need to have street credibility rather than traditional credibility like government websites might have.

This comprehensive work is worth not only reading but studying.

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