August 21, 2007

How Gender Influences Health Searches

Four data sets from the Pew Internet Project’s health research were the basis for a poster presented at the American Psychological Association convention on Sunday. Phyllis Schumacher and Janet Morahan-Martin took the 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004 health surveys and ran the numbers to prove four hypotheses: Women are more likely than men to search online for health information, search for more health topics, seek online support for medical issues, and search on someone else’s behalf. Our reports on these data sets had observed the gender difference, but this study proves the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Schumacher and Morahan-Martin also mention the other two topics which Deborah Fallows also found to be more popular among women than among men: religion and maps. It appears that women are more likely than men to ask for directions, not only for their cars but for their spirits as well.