Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Lorie Doneile


The growth in Internet use for health care is paralleled by the increase in chronic health

conditions such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). This study explores the perceptions o f online privacy held by individuals with PD. Ten individuals with PD participated in hour-long, semi- structured, in-person interviews. Analysis of the transcripts yielded four major themes regarding participant perceptions: (1) online information privacy, including discussions o f private information, exceptions, and anonymity; (2) media, family, and friends as sources o f knowledge about online information safety; (3) reasons for privacy concerns, including physical vulnerability, the lack o f ‘people’ on the Internet, and attitudes toward privacy and disclosure; and, (4) non-privacy related reasons for non-use o f Internet resources. Highlighted aspects o f participant perceptions include: lack o f awareness concerning privacy legislation and online PD communities, the perceived value of online resources as factual not supportive, and inability to form bonds of trust in online relationships.



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