NIH Research Festival
Digital health technologies can be helpful for family caregivers who need information and resources without time and space restrictions. However, digital health engagement behaviors and associated characteristics of family caregivers remain less explored. The study aimed to identify subgroups of family caregivers in the United States who share similar patterns of digital health engagement behaviors (DHEB), and to investigate factors associated with the subgroup classification. A secondary cross-sectional analysis was performed using the Health Information National Trends Survey 5 Cycle 3 and Cycle 4 datasets. Latent class analysis with sampling weights was used to identify subgroups of 885 family caregivers based on 10 types of DHEB. Two classes were derived: High DHEB (Class 1, 54%), and Low DHEB (Class 2, 46%). Caregivers who owned both a tablet and a smartphone (OR 2.56, CI 1.49 - 4.41) and had a college degree or higher (OR 2.74, CI 1.66 - 4.53) were more likely to be in the High DHEB group. Caregivers with High DHEB were more likely to report better general health status than caregivers with Low DHEB (OR 2.46, CI 1.23 - 4.93). DHEB of family caregivers appeared in distinct patterns based on their level of engagement. Our findings suggest the importance of establishing personalized strategies to encourage DHEB of family caregivers who may benefit most from increasing their use of digital health technologies. Health policymakers might elevate the discussion of digital health engagement to the policy level and use such information to facilitate the best support for caregiver populations.
Scientific Focus Area: Social and Behavioral Sciences
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