Supportive Care in Cancer

, 19:2057 | Cite as

Informational and decisional empowerment in online health support communities: initial psychometric validation of the Cyber Info-Decisional Empowerment Scale (CIDES) and preliminary data from administration of the scale

  • Gül Seçkin
Short Communication



This article presents initial psychometric validation of an instrument developed to measure cyber informational and decisional empowerment. The article provides preliminary insights into the extent to which cyber patients view the digital environment of peer-based information and support as a resource for informed and empowered participation in self health care management.


Data come from cancer patients (N = 350) who participated in the Study of Virtual Health Networks for Cancer Patients of the 21st Century. Data were first analyzed using exploratory factor analysis with principle component extraction and Varimax rotation. Age-based split-sample analysis (≥51 and ≤50) was performed on a subsample, which consisted of only women (N = 255), in order to cross-validate psychometric data obtained from the full sample. A confirmatory factor analysis was conducted using AMOS 19.0. to further validate the scale.


The composite scale is unidimensional with excellent internal consistency reliability. The highest average scores were obtained for informational empowerment items. The lowest average was for the item that measured empowerment to seek second opinion from additional health care professionals.


The ability of this composite measure to provide information about the extent to which computer-connected patients view digital peer support as an empowerment tool makes it a valuable addition to the literature in health informatics, supportive cancer care, and health quality of life research.


Cyber patients Cancer Information Exploratory factor analysis 


Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest, financial or other, exists.


  1. 1.
    Taha J, Sharit J, Czaja S (2009) Use of and satisfaction with sources of health information among older Internet users and nonusers. Gerontologist 49:663–673PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Weaver JB III, Thompson NJ, Sargent Weaver S, Hopkins GL (2009) Healthcare non-adherence decisions and Internet health information. Comput Hum Behav 25:1373–1380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pew Internet & American Life Project. The engaged e-patient population. Available at: Accessed February 1, 2007.
  4. 4.
    Greene JA, Choudhry NK, Kilabuk E, Shrank WH (2010) Online social networking by patients with diabetes: a qualitative evaluation of communication with Facebook. J Gen Intern 26:287–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Helft PR (2008) A new age for cancer information seeking: are we better off now? J Gen Intern Med 23:350–352PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Seçkin G (2010) Cyber patients surfing the medical Web: computer-mediated medical knowledge and perceived benefits. Comput Hum Behav 26:1694–1700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fogel J (2004) Internet breast health information use and coping among women with breast cancer. Cyberpsychol Behav 7:59–63PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Basch EM, Thaler HT, Shi W, Yakren S, Schrag D (2004) Use of information resources by patients with cancer and their companions. Cancer 100:2476–2483PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    LaCoursiere SP, Knobf MT, McCorkle R (2005) Cancer patients’ self reported attitudes about the Internet. J Med Internet Res 7:e22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Seçkin G (2009) Internet technology in service of personal health care management: patient perspective. J Tech Hum Serv 27:79–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Rochman B (2010) Group therapy: why so many patients are sharing their medical data online. Time 47–48Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Nimrod G (2009) Seniors' online communities: a quantitative content analysis. Gerontologist 503:382–392Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Seçkin G (2007) Virtual networks for cancer patients of the 21st century: patient empowerment, psychological well-being, and trauma transcendence. Doctoral Dissertation. Available from ProQuest database (Document ID: 1459916491. Source: DAI-A 68/12 Publication number: AAT3295352)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hara R (2010) How to evaluate online resources and support for people affected by cancer. Oncol Nurs Adv 39–40.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    iCrossing, a digital marketing company (2010) How America searches: health and wellness. Available at: Accessed May 27, 2010
  16. 16.
    Medical Library Association. A user’s guide to finding and evaluating health information on the Web. Available: Accessed November 27, 2009
  17. 17.
    Todman J, Dugard P (2007) Approaching multivariate analysis. An introduction for psychology. Psychology Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hair JF, Black WC, Babin BJ, Anderson RE, Tatham RL (2006) Multivariate data analysis. Pearson, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ashida S, Palmquist AEL, Basen-Engquist K, Singletary ES, Koehly LM (2009) Changes in female support network systems and adaptation after breast cancer diagnosis: differences between older and younger patients. Gerontologist 49:549–559PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kenny DA (2010) Measuring model fit. Available: Accessed February 19, 2011
  21. 21.
    Harris GM, Durkin DW, Allen RS, DeCoster J, Burgio LD (2011) Exemplary care as a mediator of the effects of caregiver subjective appraisal and emotional outcomes. Gerontologist 51:332–342PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Shaw B, Gustafson DH, Hawkins R, Mctavish F, McDowell H, Pingree S, Ballard D (2006) How underserved breast cancer patients use and benefit from e-health programs. Am Behav Sci 49:823–834CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Cullen R. Health information on the Internet (2006) A study of providers, quality, and users. Praeger, WestportGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology & AnthropologyUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Erickson School of AgingUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations