Sharing for Health: A Study of Chinese Adolescents’ Experiences and Perspectives on Using Social Network Sites to Share Health Information

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Abstract

Purpose: This exploratory qualitative study examines Chinese adolescents’ health information sharing habits on social network sites. Method: Ten focus group meetings with 76 adolescents, ages 12 to 17 years, were conducted at community-based organizations in Chicago’s Chinatown. The research team transcribed the recording and analyzed the transcripts using ATLAS.ti. Results: Chinese adolescents are using different social network sites for various topics of health information including food, physical activity, and so on. Adolescents would share useful and/or interesting health information. Many adolescents raised credibility concerns regarding health information and suggested evaluating the information based on self-experience or intuition, word-of-mouth, or information online. Conclusion: The findings shed lights on future intervention using social network sites to promote health among Chinese adolescents in the United States. Implications for Practice: Future interventions should provide adolescents with interesting and culturally sensitive health information and educate them to critically evaluate health information on social network sites.

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