Measuring the effects of online health information: Scale validation for the e-Health Impact Questionnaire
© 2015 The Authors. Objective: Health-related websites have developed to be much more than information sites: they are used to exchange experiences and find support as well as information and advice. This paper documents the development of a tool to compare the potential consequences and experiences a person may encounter when using health-related websites. Methods: Questionnaire items were developed following a review of relevant literature and qualitative secondary analysis of interviews relating to experiences of health. Item reduction steps were performed on pilot survey data (n= 167). Tests of validity and reliability were subsequently performed (n= 170) to determine the psychometric properties of the questionnaire. Results: Two independent item pools entered psychometric testing: (1) Items relating to general views of using the internet in relation to health and, (2) Items relating to the consequences of using a specific health-related website. Identified sub-scales were found to have high construct validity, internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Conclusion: Analyses confirmed good psychometric properties in the eHIQ-Part 1 (11 items) and the eHIQ-Part 2 (26 items). Practice implications: This tool will facilitate the measurement of the potential consequences of using websites containing different types of material (scientific facts and figures, blogs, experiences, images) across a range of health conditions.