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ERIC Number: EJ946320
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-1529-1944
Exploration of Health Concerns and the Role of Social Media Information among Rural and Urban Adolescents: A Preliminary Study
Lariscy, Ruthann; Reber, Bryan; Paek, Hye-Jin
International Electronic Journal of Health Education, v14 p16-36 2011
The aims of this study are to identify health concerns and behaviors, to understand why some concerns are more worrisome than others, and to learn what information sources are relied on for a young age cohort--7th grade students--in two poor and near-poor school districts. Focus groups--one each of girls and boys--in each of two public school districts were held. Health concerns and their rationale for why some are of greater concern than others are remarkably similar among rural and urban participants, and include illegal drug use, smoking marijuana, smoking cigarettes, HIV/AIDS, drinking liquor, becoming a young parent, being hurt in a fight, cancer, diabetes, and having a bad heart. Five over-arching themes emerged accounting for why certain health issues command their concern, and these were remarkably consistent across groups. These include: (1) desire to avoid dying at a young age, (2) social stigma, (3) choices that have negative legal and health ramifications, (4) choices that eliminate youth activities, and (5) avoiding the "heredity is destiny" syndrome. Findings on used and trusted information sources suggest that online social media (MySpace, Facebook) provide a parasocial experience and should be examined as future components of primary socialization theory (PST). If online social media can overcome some wariness regarding credibility they may become important sources for adolescents seeking health information. (Contains 4 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A