Background: Information and communication technologies (ICT) offer the potential for delivering health care interventions to low socioeconomic populations who often face barriers in accessing health care. However, most studies on ICT for health education and interventions have been conducted in clinical settings. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine access to and use of mobile phones and computers, as well as interest in, using ICT for receipt of behavioral health information among a community sample of urban, predominately black, women with low socioeconomic status. Methods: Participants (N=220) were recruited from hair salons and social service centers and completed audio-computer assisted self-interviews. Results: The majority of the participants (212/220, 96.3%) reported use of a cell phone at least weekly, of which 89.1% (189/212) used smartphones and 62.3% (137/220) reported computer use at least weekly. Of the women included in the study, 51.9% (107/206) reported using a cell phone and 39.4% (74/188) reported using a computer to access health and/or safety information at least weekly. Approximately half of the women expressed an interest in receiving information about stress management (51%-56%) or alcohol and health (45%-46%) via ICT. Smartphone ownership was associated with younger age (odds ratio [OR] 0.92, 95% CI 0.87-0.97) and employment (OR 5.12, 95% CI 1.05-24.95). Accessing health and safety information weekly by phone was associated with younger age (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.94-0.99) and inversely associated with higher income (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.20-0.92). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that ICT use, particularly smartphone use, is pervasive among predominantly black women with low socioeconomic status in urban, nonclinical settings. These results show that ICT is a promising modality for delivering health information to this population. Further exploration of the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of using ICT to disseminate behavioral health education and intervention is warranted.
- Internet communication technology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics