Project aims and motivations

Project aims

The immediate aims are to

  1. understand existing research into Information Avoidance, especially where it touches on healthcare
  2. do original research into Information Avoidance by diabetics
  3. report the research in an academic paper
  4. report on practical aspects of the findings to diabetes doctors

Further aims include

  • starting a research programme into Information Avoidance in long-term medical conditions where patients mange their own healthcare
  • building collaboration with Åbo Akademi, Finland, because Finland also has a large incidence of diabetes (Hakkarainen et al., 2017)
  • making a contribution to academic theory by bringing passive/hidden/avoidance behaviour into research that most often focuses on active information-seeking (Sairanen & Savolainen, 2010).
  • finding ways to reduce Information Avoidance in healthcare.

Project motivations

The researchers want to help reduce the human and financial costs of diabetes. For example, over 3 million people in the UK currently live with diabetes (International Diabetes Foundation, 2017). Diabetes currently costs around 10% of UK total health spending – around £10 billion (Inernational Diabetes Foundation, 2017). A lot of this money is spent on treating complications (Hex, Bartlett, Wright, Taylor, & Varley, 2012). These can include heart disease, nerve damage, amputation, and blindness (International Diabetes Foundation, n.d.).

Despite the potentially severe effects of diabetes, and despite major spending on helping patients manage their conditions, it is not known why some people do not take advantage of the information provided.

This research will also build on work by the Centre for Social Informatics (CSI) within the Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing, and contribute to realising the University’s values and research-themes such as Information Society and Wellbeing.