Understanding patterns and motivations of women using Facebook for birth control information
Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine the patterns and motivations for women to use Facebook for information on birth control. Methods: A quantitative study was conducted among women between the ages of 18 and 44, who self-identified as birth control and Facebook users. Both a uses and gratifications approach and risk information seeking and processing model were used. Participants were recruited through email and social media. Data collected from the online survey was analyzed. Results: Findings indicated that some women do use Facebook as a source for birth control information, however not a significant amount. Women were more likely to have Facebook friends post their experiences about birth control on Facebook, rather than seek out information or post their own experiences. These findings show that conversations are happening on this social media platform. Type of content and source of the post were found to affect the way women interpret birth control information. News sources were found to be least trustworthy, while health-related organizations were most trustworthy. Negative content posted by a friend sources was found to be more trustworthy than positive information. Age and income level were found to affect if women used Facebook to seek birth control information and how they interpreted such information. Conclusion: Health professionals may be able to communicate with women more effectively about birth control by using Facebook. Recommendations including creating strategic plans that combat misinformation and encouraging organizations to join the conversation online are made that may improve access to reliable information and change health behavior.
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