Utilization of Internet Technology by Low-Income Adults: The Role of Health Literacy, Health Numeracy, and Computer Assistance
Objectives: To examine whether low-income adults’ utilization of Internet technology is predicted or mediated by health literacy, health numeracy, and computer assistance. Method: Low-income adults (N = 131) from the midwestern United States were surveyed about their technology access and use. Results: Individuals with low health literacy skills were less likely to use Internet technology (e.g., email, search engines, and online health information seeking), and those with low health numeracy skills were less likely to have access to Internet technology (e.g., computers and cell phones). Consistent with past research, males, older participants, and those with less education were less likely to search for health information online. The relationship between age and online health information seeking was mediated by participant literacy. Discussion: The present study suggests that significant advances in technology access and use could be sparked by developing technology interfaces that are accessible to individuals with limited literacy skills.