Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Social Science & Medicine 99 (December 2013), pp. 110–115; doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.10.019


Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


Using data from Wave 1 (2004–2006) of the National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB), a national probability sample of women ages 25–45, we examine online information-seeking among ever-infertile women. Of the 1352 women who met criteria for infertility, 459 (34%) neither talked to a doctor nor went online for information, 9% went online only for information, 32% talked to a doctor but did not go online, and 25% did both. Guided by Chrisman’s Health-Seeking Model and previous research on Internet use to obtain health information, we employ multinomial logistic regression to compare these four groups of ever-infertile women. Findings generally support Chrisman’s model. Infertile women tend to seek information online as a complement to, rather than as a substitute for, in-person health-seeking. Greater faith in the ability of medical science to treat infertility and greater perceived stigma were associated with higher odds of using the Internet to obtain information about infertility. In general, women who perceived the symptoms of infertility as more salient had higher odds of using both online and in-person or only in-person health-seeking compared to online health-seeking. Women with greater resources had higher odds of using online sources of information. Strong network encouragement to seek treatment was associated with higher odds of in-person health-seeking and combining in-person and online health-seeking compared to only going online or doing nothing.