Why People Trust in Online Health Communities: An Integrated Approach

21st Australasian Conference on Information Systems, December 1-3, 2010

12 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2011 Last revised: 30 Jan 2015

See all articles by Hanmei Fan

Hanmei Fan

University of Melbourne

Stephen P. Smith

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Reeva Lederman

University of Melbourne

Shanton Chang

University of Melbourne

Date Written: July 12, 2010

Abstract

People are increasingly using the Internet as a major source of health-related information. Online health communities are interesting in this regard, because they are an important source of information, but also appear to serve an emotional support role in connecting people who have similar conditions or can otherwise empathize with each others’ experiences. Trust is critical to the continued operation of these forums, because each support consumer is typically identified only by a pseudonym, important personal information is often revealed, and the consequences of acting on incorrect advice can be severe. Therefore, studies of established communities indicate that a significant level of trust develops between people in these forums. How this trust develops, however, has not been explained adequately in past research. In this conceptual paper, we propose a trust formation model that explains how trust is built in a non-commercial context where emotional bonding may play a large role.

Keywords: Health, Online Community, Trust

Suggested Citation

Fan, Hanmei and Smith, Stephen P. and Lederman, Reeva and Chang, Shanton, Why People Trust in Online Health Communities: An Integrated Approach (July 12, 2010). 21st Australasian Conference on Information Systems, December 1-3, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1775303

Hanmei Fan (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne ( email )

Melbourne
Australia

Stephen P. Smith

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Reeva Lederman

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, 3053

Shanton Chang

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053
Australia

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