Prior theory has argued and empirical studies have shown that cancer patients rely on information from their health care providers as well as lay sources to understand and make decisions about their disease. However, research on the dynamic and interdependent nature of cancer patients’ engagement with different information sources is lacking. This study tested the hypotheses that patient–clinician information engagement and information seeking from nonmedical sources influence one another longitudinally among a representative cohort of 1,293 cancer survivors in Pennsylvania. The study hypotheses were supported in a series of lagged multiple regression analyses. Baseline seeking information from nonmedical sources positively predicted subsequent patient–clinician information engagement at 1-year follow-up. The reverse relationship was also statistically significant; baseline patient–clinician information engagement positively predicted information seeking from nonmedical sources at follow-up. These findings suggest that cancer survivors move between nonmedical and clinician sources in a dynamic way to learn about their disease.
Published in Volume 29, Issue 10, pages 974–983