Patients with lifelong health conditions such as chronic kidney disease (CKD) may search for health information online throughout the course of their illness. On the Internet, patients may encounter patient peers in online support groups (OSGs) focused on their particular chronic illness. We currently know very little about how patients assess the credibility of information posted by other patients in OSGs. This poster examines this issue, presenting data from a grounded theory study on health information seeking and personal health information disclosure in OSGs for CKD. The poster describes how patients use similarity as a credibility cue. The data demonstrate that information on OSGs is assessed differently than information presented on static websites, extending our notions of how users assess trustworthiness and credibility online. These findings also extend our understanding of how users make these judgments on the Internet by describing the development of criteria assessments over time, relative to the illness experiences of the seeker. This poster also highlights the importance of shared experience when judging trustworthiness in OSGs, a concept that has received little attention in the literature to date.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Information Systems
- Library and Information Sciences
- Health information seeking
- Online support groups