Communicating Personal Health Information in Virtual Health Communities: An Integration of Privacy Calculus Model and Affective Commitment
This collaborative study between The Department of Neurosurgery at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and Department of Information Systems and Cyber Security at The University of Texas at San Antonio aims to investigate the impact of personal health information privacy and affective commitment on user participation and information sharing intentions and behaviors within virtual health communities.
Study Question 1: How does privacy calculus (risks/benefits) influence one's intention to share PHI in public discussions within virtual health communities?
Study Question 2: How does sense of belonging influence one's intention to share PHI in public discussions within virtual health communities?
The results of this study can potentially benefit the providers of virtual health communities in different ways. For instance, the results will help them better understand individuals' privacy concerns of sharing PHI. This understanding will help the community providers design effective privacy enhancing technologies and adjust the website privacy policies appropriately to address members' privacy concerns. This will foster members’ active participation in the form of sharing PHI and exchanging social support with other members of the community. The findings of this study will also help the providers of these online communities better understand what segments of community members (in terms of age, gender, education, etc.) perceive more benefits of active participation and what segments are more concerned about their privacy.