When do people think or worry about health?

January 4, 2008 at 10:18 pm 5 comments

As a start to writing my book, which is my new year’s resolution, I am writing blog entries about the ideas I have associated with the topic of online consumer health. My first topic is when people think or worry about health.

In early January, it is clear that much thought centers around new year’s resolutions to lose weight (arguably the most common), stop smoking or drinking, eat healthier, sleep more, etc. (I just read that making more resolutions is better than a few because the end result is better.) People also think about their health when they are in pain or discomfort. People think about their health when someone close to them or someone in the news has health problems, and in reaction might implement a healthier lifestyle after losing a close friend to heart disease. People think about their health when they read an article about health, and certainly the popular press is full of news about results of studies and their implications. Similarly, people think about health issues when they see pharmaceutical advertisements – and possibly when they read spam that is health-related. And finally people think about their health in preparation for, during, or following a doctor’s visit.

Is their much difference between how people think about their own or other’s health? Probably the relationship is key. As a parent I worry more about my children’s health than my own.

From a health literacy perspective, how much do people think about a health issue in an accurate or constructive manner? It may be that emotions, such as fear, have a huge impact – in either direction, depending on the person and situation – on the actions people take.

When do people go from thinking or worrying about health care to taking an action, be it talking to someone (friend, family, stranger, or professional) or looking online? Is there a trigger like fear or pain or a threshold to their worry?

Entry filed under: health. Tags: , , , , , , .

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    I have just turned 50 and a some of my friends have either had cancer or have died fron cancer. I am just going through a divorce and its a stressful time, i dont feel brilliant in myself but i always think of the worst possible scenario as far as my health is concerned. I have started training and i have lost some weight and i have a very supportive partner and i find it quite embarrassing to talk very negative but sometimes the way i feel is not very nice, i have been reassured by the people close to me . I have got a very good life, my divorce is still pending but its only a matter of time before its sorted. I wish i did not feel like this but its not all the time, i just think the worst when i have an ailment to do with my health, i think im turning into a hypocondriac lol.


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Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Lisa GualtieriLisa Gualtieri is Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is Director of the Certificate Program in Digital Health Communication. Lisa teaches Designing Health Campaigns using Social Media, Social Media and Health, Mobile Health Design, and Digital Strategies for Health Communication. Contact Lisa: lisa.gualtieri@tufts.edu


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