The Influences of Immigration on Health Information Seeking Behaviors Among Korean Americans and Native Koreans

Kyeung Mi Oh, Qiuping (Pearl) Zhou, Gary Kreps, Wonsun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Korean Americans (KAs) have low screening rates for cancer and are often not well informed about their chronic diseases. Reduced access to health-related information is one reason for gaps in knowledge and the widening health disparities among minority populations. However, little research exists about KAs' health information seeking behaviors. Guided by the Structural Influence Model, this study examines the influence of immigration status on KAs' trust in health information sources and health information seeking behaviors. Cross-sectional surveys were conducted in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area as well as in the Gwangju metropolitan city in South Korea during 2006-2007. Two hundred and fifty-four KAs and 208 native Koreans who were 40 years of age or older completed the surveys. When comparing native Koreans to KAs, we found KAs were 3 times more likely to trust health information from newspapers or magazines (odds ratio [OR] = 3.13; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.49-6.54) and 11 times more likely to read the health sections of newspapers or magazines (OR = 11.35; 95% CI = 3.92-32.91) in multivariate adjusted models. However, they were less likely to look for health information from TV (OR = 0.29; 95% CI = 0.12-0.72) than native Koreans. Our results indicate that immigration status has profound influences on KAs' health information seeking behaviors. Increasing the availability of reliable and valid health information from printed Korean language magazines or newspapers could have a positive influence on increasing awareness and promoting screening behaviors among KAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-185
Number of pages13
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Korean Americans
  • Native Koreans
  • health information seeking
  • immigration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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