Is Ignorance Really Bliss? : Dr. Beth St. Jean Publishes on Health Informatics

Is Ignorance Really Bliss? : Dr. Beth St. Jean Publishes on Health Informatics

The iSchool's Dr. Beth St. Jean published her paper Is Ignorance Bliss? in the Proceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology! You can read the abstract below and the paper here:  http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pra2.2017.14505401043/pdf

"Although many people cope with illness by seeking information, a considerable proportion of the population prefers to avoid information, aiming to maintain or increase their uncertainty in order to control their anxiety and/or maintain hope. Drawing on a large (n = 3,677), nationally representative survey dataset (the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s 2014 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS)), this paper investigates the prevalence of information avoidancd (defined here as agreement with the statement, “I’d rather not know my chance of getting cancer”) among the U.S. adult population and identifies associations between information avoidance and other types of demographic, information-seeking, cognitive/perceptual and social factors. The overarching aim of this research is to explore whether and how the concepts of information avoidance, health literacy and health justice are interrelated. Based on a literature review anda secondary analysis of the HINTS data set, information avoidance, limited health literacy and a lack of
health justice appear to be intricately interwoven. In conclusion, suggestions are made as to how we mightuse these findings to interrupt the usual progression from low health literacy to poor health outcomes, thereby helping to decrease health disparities and address the lack of health justice in this country."