Health communication scholars have observed that not all individuals seek out health-related information when confronted with a significant health threat. Instead, these individuals engage in information nonseeking, defined as a behavior characterized by not looking for information. Kasisomayajula Viswanath argues that communication inequalities, such as ones arising from information disparities, are likely to parallel health inequalities. As a result, information nonseeking behavior may contribute to an unequal burden of disease across nonseeking subgroups of the population.

The diagnosis of a serious health condition such as cancer can evoke a strong desire among patients to actively seek health-related information in an effort to make informed choices about treatment options and participate in decision-making processes with health care providers. A common assumption is that patients, who are ...

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