The Pew Internet Project is finalizing our fall health survey and we are now in the painful cut phase. Here’s a question I’m hoping to save in a shorter form:

At any point in your last search for health information online did you feel any of the following things? At any point, did you feel…?

Based on those who look for health information online.

a. OVERWHELMED by the amount of information you found online
(We last asked this series in August 2006, when 25% of e-patients said yes)

b. EAGER to share your new health or medical knowledge with others
(51% said yes in 2006)

c. CONFUSED by the information you found online
(18% said yes in 2006)

d. RELIEVED or COMFORTED by the information you found online
(56% said yes in 206)

e. FRUSTRATED by a lack of information or an inability to find what you were looking for online
(22% said yes in 2006)

f. CONFIDENT to raise new questions or concerns about a health issue with your doctor
(56% said yes in 2006)

g. FRIGHTENED by the serious or graphic nature of the information you found online
(10% said yes in 2006)

h. REASSURED that you could make appropriate health care decisions
(74% said yes in 2006)

The “headline” number from this series was that last one: three-quarters of internet users who had recently looked online for health information said they felt reassured that they could make appropriate health care decisions. On the flip side, 25% said they felt overwhelmed (and a closer look at the data revealed that internet users with less education were more likely to report feeling overwhelmed).

If you had to choose two positive and two negative feelings to ask people about, which ones would you choose? Or, put another way, which two feelings would you cut — one positive, one negative?

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