Tuesday, 10:30am


Impacts of the HackHealth After-School Program: Motivating Youth through Personal Relevance

Beth St. Jean¹, Natalie Greene Taylor¹, Christie Kodama1, Dana Casciotti², Mega Subramaniam¹
¹College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States of America; ²U.S. National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD, United States of America


After-school programs are uniquely situated to attract and engage youth in a variety of interest-driven activities that ensure that each individual youth’s personal interests are nurtured. In collaboration with school librarians at five middle schools in the greater Washington D.C. metro area, we developed and implemented an after-school program, [ProgramName], which aims to increase disadvantaged middle school students’ interest in science and health, their health and digital literacy skills, and their health-related self-efficacy. Based on data collected from the 63 youth who have participated in [ProgramName] over the past two years (as well as their parents) through surveys, participant observation, pre- and post-interviews, and focus groups, we investigate why these youth joined [ProgramName], the health-related topic each one selected to research during the program and the reasons for their choice, and the perceptions of participants and their parents regarding the short-term outcomes of participating in the program. The importance of building on youths’ personal interests and ensuring the personal relevance of both content and skills in attracting and sustaining youth participation and engagement in after-school programs is discussed.

The Quality and Helpfulness of Answers to Eating Disorder Questions in Yahoo! Answers: Teens Speak Out

Leanne Bowler, Jocelyn Monahan, Wei Jeng, Jung Sun Oh, Daqing He
University of Pittsburgh, United States of America


This research project investigated teens’ perspectives on the quality and helpfulness of health information about eating disorders found on Yahoo! Answers, a Social Q&A site. A mixed methods approach was applied, using survey methods and semi-structured group interviews to gather data for the project. Eighteen teens completed a web-based questionnaire using sample question/answer sets about eating disorders from Yahoo! Answers. The teen participants were asked to choose one answer as “best” and then rank its credibility, accuracy, reliability, and helpfulness. Open-ended questions allowed teens to explain the rationale for their choice of “best” answer and to discuss why the chosen answer might (or might not) be helpful for teens. Following the questionnaire, six teens participated in a focus group interview using a semi-structured format that asked open-ended “why” questions in order to draw forth comments on criteria for evaluating the quality and and helpfulness of health information in Yahoo! Answers, as well as to reveal aspects of critical thinking. Findings suggest that, 1) teens make a distinction between health information in Social Q&A that is credible versus that which is helpful, 2) they value health information that isn’t from a credible source if it addresses other needs, and, 3) when making judgments about health information on the Web, they apply an array of heuristics related to information quality, opinion, communication style, emotional support and encouragement, guidance, personal experience, and professional expertise.

Health Information Literacy and Stage of Change as Antecedents for Physical Activity Information Seeking and Avoidance: a Population-based Study Among Young Men

Noora Sisko Henriikka Hirvonen1,2,3, Raija Korpelainen3,4,5, Riitta Pyky3,4,5, Maija-Leena Huotari1,3
¹Information Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Finland; ²Eudaimonia Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Finland;³Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Finland; 4Oulu Deaconess Institute, Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu, Finland; 5Institute for Health Sciences, Center for Life Course Epidemiology, University of Oulu, Finland


In this study we investigate young men’s seeking and avoidance of physical activity and exercise information. Stage of exercise behavior change as identified in the Transtheoretical Model and everyday health information literacy are studied in relation to these actions. The data were collected with a questionnaire survey (n=1,040) administered at the Finnish Defence Forces’ call-ups in September-December 2013 in Oulu, Finland. Statistical analyses include analysis of variance and multivariate logistic regression analysis. The results indicate that stage of exercise behavior change is associated with information seeking on physical activity and exercise, but only vaguely with avoidance of information. By contrast, everyday health information literacy was associated with avoidance of information and not with information seeking. Future studies should look more carefully into the relationship between health information behavior and literacy. Moreover, information behavior in stages of behavior change should be studied in the context of other health behaviors and among other populations.