Online Health Information Seeking Behaviors Among the Thai Elderly Netizens

Main Article Content

jantima kheokao
Kanyarat Ubolwan
Kitsanaporn Tipkanjanaraykha
Unya Plodpluang


This cross sectional study aimed to describe online/social media use behaviors of the and to study the online health information seeking of the 1,237 Thai elderly netizens who used internet and social media. Questionnaire was used to collect data on demographical profiles, internet and online social media uses and online health information seeking behaviors of the respondents. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics; frequency distribution, percentages, mean and standard deviation. The findings revealed that: 1) The majority of the respondents were living in the central region (509, 41.1%), female (740, 59.8%), aged between 60 -69 years old (899, 72.7%) with a mean age of 66.92 years (SD = 5.53), elementary schoolers (349, 28.2%), married (781, 63.1%), had monthly income less than 5,000 baht (500, 40.4%) from the pension (330, 26.7%), and having chronic diseases (704, 56.9%), respectively. 2) Online social media use behaviors, it was found that most of respondents used personal smart/mobile phone to get online connection (932, 75.3%), use internet/online social media less than 1 hour a day (517 41.8%). Line was used by most respondents (1,060, 85.7%); age ranged from 60-69 years reported that they used the online media/social media higher than other aged groups. It was also found that most of respondents of every education level, monthly income level, and marital status used line higher than other online media/social media. 3) Online health information seeking of the elderly, the top three of contents regularly searched from the internet were healthy lifestyle (141, 11.4%), treatments (136, 11.0%), and medication (123, 9.9%). Opinion towards health information seeking behaviors and trust of health information sources revealed that the respondents reported the highest average mean score on it's hard to know which ones to follow (mean=1.88 (SD = 0.825) which was at low level.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Research Article


Anker, A.E., Reinhart, A.M., & Feeley, T.H. (2011). Health information seeking: A review of measures and methods. Patient Education and Counseling. 82, 346-354. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2010.12.008.

Brown-Johnson, C. G., Boeckman, L. M., White, A. H., Burbank, A. D., Paulson, S., & Beebe, L. A. (2018). Trust in health information sources: Survey analysis of variation by sociodemographic and tobacco use status in Oklahoma. JMIR public health and surveillance, 4(1), e8. doi:10.2196/publichealth.6260

Chaichuay, W (2017). “การใช้ LINE ของผู้สูงอายุ: การศึกษาเชิงปรากฏการณ์วิทยา” Elderlies’ experience in using LINE application: a phenomenological study. Veridian E-Journal. 10(1), 905-918.

Flynn, K.E., Smith, M.A., & Freese, J. (2006). When do older adults turn to the internet for health information? Findings from the Wisconsin longitudinal study. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 21(12),1295–1301.

Hall, A. K. P., Bernhardt, J. M., & Dodd, V. (2015). Older adults use of online and offline sources of health information and constructs of reliance and self-efficacy for medical decision making. J Health Commun, 20(7), 751–758. doi:10.1080/10810730.2015.1018603.

Katz, E., Blumler, J. G., & Gurevitch, M. (1974). Ulilization of mass communication by the individual. In J. G. Blumler, & E. Katz (Eds.), The uses of mass communications: Current perspectives on gratifications research (pp. 19–32). Beverly Hills: Sage.

Kurniawan. S. (2008). Older people and mobile phones: A multi-method investigation. Int. J. HumanComputer Studies. 66, 889–901.

Lagoe, C. & Atkin, D. (2015). Health anxiety in the digital age. Computers in Human Behavior Archive. 52, issue C, 484-491.

Loipha, S. (2014). Thai Elderly Behavior of Internet Use. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 147 : 104 – 110

Mo, P (2012). The Use of Internet for Health Education. J Biosafety Health Educ 1:e102. doi:10.4172/2332-0893.1000e102.

Marketing Charts. (2016). Newspaper and TV news trusted more than online sources. Retrieved from

Powell, J. A., Darvell, M., & Gray, J. A. (2003). The doctor, the patient and the world-wide web: how the internet is changing healthcare. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 96(2), 74-6.

Quinn, S., Bond, R. & Nugent, C. (2017). Quantifying health literacy and eHealth literacy using existing instruments and browser-based software for tracking online health information seeking behavior. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 256-267.

Somvatsawan, K. & Satraruji, K. (2016). The study of communication behavior in Line Application data sharing of elderly people [online]. Retrieved from: [23 October 2018]

Stoevesandt, D., & Diez, C. (2006). Is the Internet a useful and relevant source for health and health care information retrieval for German cardiothoracic patients? First results from a prospective survey among 255 patients at a German cardiothoracic surgical clinic. Journal of cardiothoracic surgery, 1, 36. doi:10.1186/1749-8090-1-36

Southeast Asia digital, social and mobile 2018. Retrieved from

Sri-Chatrabimook, S. (2016). Strategies to develop quality of life and learning of the handicap, elderly and the needy person in the convergence era. Bangkok: Institute for Research and Consultancy of the Thammasart University.

Sum, S. Mathews, R.M., Hughes, I., & Campbell, A. (2008). Internet use and loneliness in older adults. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 11(2), 208-211. doi: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0010.

Sunkpho, J. & Khaemasunun, P. & Tubtimhin, J. (2014). Thailand new ICT master plan to promote ICT innovations and services for e-Ageing. Paper presented at the 8th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance, At Guimarães, Portugal. DOI: 10.1145/2691195.2691310.

Tayati, P., Disathaporn, C, & Onming, R. (2017).The model of Thai elderly learning management for information and communication technology literacy. Veridian E-Journal, Silpakorn University. 10(3), 1456-1471.

Thailand's National Bureau of Statistics [online]. Retrieved from: [23 October 2018]

Van Boekel, L. C., Peek, S., & Luijkx, K.G. (2017). Diversity in older adults’ use of the internet: identifying subgroups through latent class analysis. Journal of medical Internet research, 19(5), e180. doi:10.2196/jmir.6853.

Weaver, J. (2018). More people search for health online but they often can’t find what they’re looking for, the study find. Telemedicine on NBC News. Retrieved from

Williamson, A. (2013). Social media guidelines for parliaments [online]. Retrieved from: [23 October 2018]

Xie, B. (2009). Older Adults’ Health Information Wants in the Internet Age: Implications for Patient–Provider Relationships. Journal of Health Communication, 14:510–524, 2009. DOI: 10.1080/10810730903089614.

YouGov. (2016). Fake news [online]. Retrieved from:

Zickuhr, K. & Madden, M. (2012). Older adults and internet use. Retrieved from: