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Infertility help seeking and social support: Do conventional theories explain internet behaviors and outcomes?

Kathleen Slauson-Blevins, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This dissertation uses data from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB), a nationally representative sample, to assess factors associated with face-to-face and internet help seeking and perceived social support. I first examine whether the General Help Seeking Model, a theory that has been used to explain in-person help seeking, generalizes to internet help seeking. I assess four types of help seeking: (1) no help seeking, (2) only internet help seeking, (3) only medical help seeking, and (4) both online and medical help seeking. Results suggest that online help seeking is differentiated from in person help seeking by attitudes towards medical science, infertility stigma, age, income, and educational attainment. Next, I explore whether the type of help seeking that individuals engage in and the types of activities that people do online are associated with perceived social support. Perceived social support does not differ by type of help seeking, nor are the types of online activities associated with perceptions of social support. Finally, I provide descriptive information on patterns of infertility help seeking on the internet—information that is important as the use of the internet for health related activities continues to grow. I show that use of the internet varies by several individual and social characteristics. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Obstetrics and Gynecology|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies|Information Science

Recommended Citation

Slauson-Blevins, Kathleen, "Infertility help seeking and social support: Do conventional theories explain internet behaviors and outcomes?" (2011). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3449988.