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A self-disclosure model for personal health information

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2 Author(s)
Kam, L.E. ; Dept. of Inf. Technol. Manage., Hawaii Univ., Honolulu, HI, USA ; Chismar, W.G.

The use of information technologies (IT) to collect personal health information is growing in popularity via computer-assisted interviewing and a wide variety of healthcare Web sites. However, a review of the literature on computer-assisted interviewing exhibits confounding and equivocal results regarding the effects of IT on individuals' willingness to disclose socially sensitive health information. Some studies revealed individuals' heightened concerns about entering their health information into a computer, while other studies exhibited greater willingness to enter sensitive information into a computer than to give it to a personal physician. The pervading lack of clarity in explaining these results may be largely due to limited attempts to model the underlying factors that motivate the self-disclosure of socially sensitive personal health information; most studies examine the relationship between the data collection environment and the willingness to self disclose without identify the underlying factors. In this paper, we propose a model of self-disclosure that contains three classes of motivating factors derived from a decomposition of the data collection environment of previous studies: perceived privacy, context sensitivity, and quality of feedback. Aspects of the data collection environment that reinforce the motivational factors are expected to increase disclosure and thus improve the quality of information. An analysis of the results of previous studies employing IT-enabled data-collection environments offers preliminary support of the proposed model. After presenting the model, we discuss research implications and suggest approaches for validating the self-disclosure model.

Published in:

System Sciences, 2003. Proceedings of the 36th Annual Hawaii International Conference on

Date of Conference:

6-9 Jan. 2003