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Open Access Publications from the University of California

How Much Knowledge Can They Gain? Women's Information Behavior on Government Health Websites in the Context of HIV/AIDS Prevention


Using a theoretical framework extended from Rimal and Real’s (2003) Risk Perception Attitude framework, this research examines women’s information behavior, specifically information finding and reaction to information, on government health websites in the context of HIV/AIDS prevention. In the empirical study, think aloud and structured individual interview were used to collect data from 40 female university students in the U.S. in their completion of an information seeking task and an interview. Factors that influence women’s information finding and reaction to information were identified. This research challenges and extends Rimal and Real’s (2003) Risk Perception Attitude framework by proposing an Extended Risk Perception Attitude framework. This research also exemplifies Gupta’s (2000) categories of social construction of gender and sexuality in the HIV/AIDS discourse, and adds new evidence that proves their validity. In addition, this research enriches the literature in health-related information behavior by switching the research focus to other information behaviors than information seeking.

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