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An In-depth Exploration of Information-Seeking Behavior Among Individuals With Cancer: Part 2: Understanding Patterns of Information Disinterest and Avoidance

Lambert, Sylvie D. N, PhD(c); Loiselle, Carmen G. N, PhD; Macdonald, Mary Ellen PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000343373.01646.91

This is the second of a 2-part article describing differential health information-seeking behavior (HISB) patterns within the context of a cancer diagnosis that emerged in our grounded theory study. Data from 30 semistructured interviews and 8 focus groups with individuals diagnosed with breast, prostate, or colorectal cancer were analyzed using constant comparison analysis, diagramming, and open, axial, and selective coding. In part 1, 3 HISB patterns illustrating variation in active information-seeking behavior were described: (1) intense information seeking a keen interest in detailed cancer information, (2) complementary information seeking the process of getting "good enough" cancer information, and (3) fortuitous information seeking the search for cancer information mainly from others diagnosed with cancer. Part 2 describes 2 additional patterns coined in this study as minimal information-seeking behavior limited interest for cancer information and guarded information-seeking behavior avoidance of certain types of cancer information. Part 2 challenges traditional views that consider disinterest and avoidance as similar concepts subsumed under "blunting." Findings may be used to refine informational interventions and measurement strategies to best differentiate between cancer information avoidance and disinterest.

Authors' Affiliations: School of Nursing (Ms Lambert and Drs Loiselle and MacDonald), Department of Oncology (Dr MacDonald), McGill University, Motreal, Quebec, Canada; Centre for Nursing Reaserch, SMBD Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Dr Loiselle); and Montreal Children's Hospital, Quebec, Canada (Dr MacDonald).

This work was supported, in part, by a doctoral research award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), a doctoral training award from the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec, a Canadian Institutes of Health Research/Institute of Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute of Canada Strategic Training Program Award in Psychosocial Oncology, and a doctoral student project grant from the Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en sciences infirmières de Montréal.

Corresponding author: Sylvie D. Lambert, N, PhD(c), School of Nursing, McGill University, 3506 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2A7 (

Accepted for publication June 4, 2008.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.