Health Information Processing and Symptom Management in a Cross-Cultural Setting: Insights from IBD Patients

Bu Zhong, Wenjing Xie, Stefanie Davis Kempton, Min Zhi, Junzhang Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The affordances of social media, have significantly transformed how patients seek and process health information online, including those with chronic diseases like irritable bowel disease (IBD). Few studies have explored how information processing may impact symptom management. Guided by social cognitive theory, this study investigates how Chinese and U.S. patients (N = 838) process health information in a cross-cultural setting and the impact on symptom management. It finds that efficient information processing improves treatment understanding and symptom management for IBD patients, regardless of their cultural backgrounds. It also reveals a U-shaped quadratic relationship between IBD severity and emotional and peer support, indicating varying support needs at different IBD stages. These findings provide valuable insights for healthcare professionals, patients, and caregivers in designing interventions for chronic diseases. The study underscores the importance of recognizing the dynamics of health information processing and the need for a more nuanced approach to patient support and care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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