Wechatting for health: What motivates older adult engagement with health information

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although WeChat has become increasingly popular among Chinese elderly people as a tool to engage with health information, little research has examined their motivations for health purposes and their engagement with health information on the site. By applying the two-stage Use and gratification (U&G) approach, we first conducted in-depth interviews (n = 20) to explore older adults’ distinctive motives. Based on the 22 motives found in the qualitative research, we developed a questionnaire for an online survey (n = 690) to further investigate how these motives affect older adults’ engagement with health information on WeChat. As the result, six motive typologies were identified: information needs, social support, surveillance, social interaction, self-agency building, and technological convenience. Together, these six types of motivations jointly account for 59.9% of the variance in older adults’ engagement with health information (M = 2.71, SD = 0.79, adjusted R2 = 0.59, p < 0.001). Social support and information needs were significant predictors, suggesting that the older WeChat users’ active engagement is driven by personal instrumental gratification. This study examines the explanation power of U&G theory in a health context, as well as provides the practical implication for leveraging mobile social media to improve older people’s healthcare management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number751
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume9
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Keywords

  • engagement behaviors
  • health communication
  • health information
  • older adults
  • social media

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