Digital divide: Variation in internet and cellular phone use among women attending an urban sexually transmitted infections clinic

Lipika Samal, Heidi E Hutton, Emily J. Erbelding, Elizabeth S. Brandon, Joseph Finkelstein, Geetanjali Chander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We sought to describe: (1) the prevalence of internet, cellular phone, and text message use among women attending an urban sexually transmitted infections (STI) clinic, (2) the acceptability of health advice by each mode of information and communication technology (ICT), and (3) demographic characteristics associated with ICT use. This study is a cross-sectional survey of 200 English-speaking women presenting to a Baltimore City STI clinic with STI complaints. Participants completed a self-administered survey querying ICT use and demographic characteristics. Three separate questions asked about interest in receiving health advice delivered by the three modalities: internet, cellular phone, and text message. We performed logistic regression to examine how demographic factors (age, race, and education) are associated with likelihood of using each modality. The median age of respondents was 27 years; 87% were African American, and 71% had a high school diploma. The rate of any internet use was 80%; 31% reported daily use; 16% reported weekly use; and 32% reported less frequent use. Almost all respondents (93%) reported cellular phone use, and 79% used text messaging. Acceptability of health advice by each of the three modalities was about 60%. In multivariate analysis, higher education and younger age were associated with internet use, text messaging, and cellular phone use. Overall rate of internet use was high, but there was an educational disparity in internet use. Cellular phone use was almost universal in this sample. All three modalities were equally acceptable forms of health communication. Describing baseline ICT access and the acceptability of health advice via ICT, as we have done, is one step toward determining the feasibility of ICT-delivered health interventions in urban populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-128
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Volume87
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Fingerprint

Cell Phones
digital divide
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Internet
Text Messaging
communication technology
information technology
Communication
Technology
health
Health
Demography
Health Communication
Education
Baltimore
Biomedical Technology
Urban Population
urban population
demographic factors
multivariate analysis

Keywords

  • Cellular phone
  • Internet use
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • SMS
  • Text message
  • Women's Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Digital divide : Variation in internet and cellular phone use among women attending an urban sexually transmitted infections clinic. / Samal, Lipika; Hutton, Heidi E; Erbelding, Emily J.; Brandon, Elizabeth S.; Finkelstein, Joseph; Chander, Geetanjali.

In: Journal of Urban Health, Vol. 87, No. 1, 01.2010, p. 122-128.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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