Effects of New Media Use on Health Behaviors: A Case Study in China
Background: Mass communication is one of the most important ways in health communication. The emergence of new media has changed the way people acquire health information and then their health behaviors. However, few studies have been conducted about complicated relations between media use and health behaviors under new media conditions and further systematic explanation is needed.
Methods: A hypothesis model for the influence of WeChat use on health behaviors was constructed to explore the internal influencing mechanism of new media use on health behaviors. An empirical analysis on the internal influencing mechanism of WeChat use on health behaviors was carried out with a survey data consist of 463 young active users on famous online social network sites in China from March to June 2019.
Results: New media use represented by WeChat has significant positive influence on health behaviors. Individuals who frequently use new media related to health have better health conditions than those who rarely use them. The improvement of health behaviors is mainly attributed to acquisition of health knowledge. Such effect is also mediated by the degree of individuals’ trust in health knowledge.
Conclusion: This study not only discloses the influencing mechanism of new media use and health knowledge on health behaviors, but also confirms the value of new media in promoting public health communication and public health behaviors. Conclusions provide significant references in decision-making to develop effective guidance of public health.
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|Issue||Vol 50 No 5 (2021)|
|Media use Health behaviors Health knowledge Public health|
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