Health Information Seeking as a Coping Strategy to Reduce Alzheimer’s Caregivers’ Stress

Nia F. Mason, Diane B. Francis, Loretta L. Pecchioni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia (referred to as AD) deteriorate over time, and there will likely be a corresponding increase in levels of burden and stress for caregivers. Despite the significant contributions made by informal caregivers, there are no widely available mechanisms that meet the information needs of informal caregivers. Using a qualitative approach, the current study focuses on AD caregiver information seeking. The study involved conducting interviews to answer the following research questions: (1) What motivating factors lead informal caregivers of people with AD to seek out information?; (2) Is there a relationship between information seeking and resulting perceived stress levels?; and (3) Why do informal caregivers choose to utilize certain resources more than others during their information seeking process? Findings revealed that caregivers’ largest motivation for seeking information is to learn how to better care for their loved one. Caregivers tend to rely on mediated resources that they find credible, and interpersonal resources such as people with similar experiences to their own. Many participants were satisfied with information available, but others felt that their interactions with healthcare professionals created more stress and emotional anguish than anticipated. This study offers an initial step in finding ways to meet the needs of those who seek to mitigate their stress through information seeking. By studying the information needs of the caregiving population, healthcare workers and communicators will be more knowledgeable about the relationship between information seeking and stress and coping.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Communication
Volume37
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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