The Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

School of Emerging Technologies

Perceived Credibility of Online Health Information

Gerald Jerome (Kinesiology), Harry Hochheiser (University of Pittsburgh), Carolyn Albright (Immaculata University)

Access to credible health information can empower individuals to take a more active role in their own health and better prepare them to make educated decisions regarding their medical care. Unfortunately, there is a low barrier for entry to provide Internet-based health information, and consequently there is a wide range in the quality and credibility of online health information. The burden of discriminating between accurate and inaccurate online health information resides with the consumer and inaccurate information could lead to an increase in symptoms and more serious health complications. A better understanding of how adults use the Internet to manage their medical conditions could inform educational efforts that prepare individuals to be educated consumers of online health information.

The proposed pilot studies investigate user perceptions of online health information and the corresponding components of credible health information. It is expected that this information can inform future interventions to help individuals find credible online weight management information resulting in improved self directed health promotion.

One project examines how firefighters select and use Internet and smartphone applications for weight management; calls for volunteers for that survey have been released by the National Volunteer Fire Council and by Firehouse magazine.

Impact on Students

Our undergraduate student research assistants are learning about the general research process, engaging in an in-depth study on the research topic and assisting with the design, development, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of this project

Undergraduate research assistants
  • Kelly Magee
  • Paola Haros
  • Elizabeth Conn
  • Austin Clark
  • Jonathan Kretsch
Related work:
  • Jerome, G.J. & McAuley, E. (2011). Enrollment and Participation in a Pilot Walking Program: The Role of Self-efficacy. Journal of Health Psychology. DOI: 10.1177/1359105311430869. PMID: 22419416
  • Jerome, G.J. & Albright, C. (2011). Accuracy of Five Talking Pedometers under Controlled Conditions. Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research. 1(2). (.html, .brf).
  • Jerome, G.J., & McAuley, E. (2011). Physical Activity Levels Among Adult Computer Users. Computers in Human Behavior. 27(3):1207-1210. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2010.12.017.
  • Funk, K.L., Stevens, V.J., Appel, L.J., Bauck, A., Brantley, P.J., Champagne, C.M., Coughlin, J.W., Dalcin, A., Harvey-Berino, J., Hollis, J.F., Jerome, G.J., Kennedy, B.M., Lien, L.F., Myers, V.H., Samuel-Hodge, C., Svetkey, L.P., & Vollmer, W.M. (2010). Associations of Internet Website Use with Weight Change in a Long-term Weight Loss Maintenance Program. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 12(3):e26. DOI: 10.2196/jmir.1504, PMID: 20663751
Towson students working on the project

Towson students working on this project.

Front row - Left to right: Kelly Magee, Elizabeth Conn, Paola Haros
Back row: left to right: Austin Clark , Jonathan Kretsch



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