Survey: Women More Likely Than Men to Search Internet for Health Information

When it comes to health, women are more plugged in than men, according to a national survey.

Researchers from Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I., found that women are more likely than men to search for health information on the Internet.

In fact, health research is one of only a few areas for which women use the Internet more men, according to the findings, which were presented at the American Psychological Association's annual meeting, in San Francisco last weekend.

The survey was conducted over a four-year period as part of the Pew Internet/American Life Project. At least 500 people were surveyed each year over the four-year period, researchers said.

In 2004, for example, 82 percent of the telephone survey's female respondents answered yes when asked if they ever searched the Web for health-related information, compared to 75 percent of men.

The only exception, researchers found, is that men are more likely than women to go online for sensitive health information that may be difficult or embarrassing to talk about.

Researchers also found that women:

— Are more likely than men to seek online support groups for medical problems

— Are more likely than men to seek health care information for others

— Visit more health sites than men

Men were more likely to use the Internet to find information in seven areas: research on products and services; weather; news; do-it-yourself; sports scores; financial information; and work-related research.