Martijn Huisman successfully defended PhD

(13-01-2021) On Monday January 11, 2021, Martijn Huisman successfully defended his PhD dissertation on health communication and information.

Martijn Cover PhDDr. Martijn Huisman’s dissertation is titled In sickness and in health: A study of health information behaviour and use among Flemish middle-aged and older adults.

The dissertation studies health information behaviour and use by middle-aged (50-64 years old) and older adults (65-80 years old) in Flanders, Belgium. Through qualitative analyses of 40 in-depth, semi-structured interviews, the thesis examines why (not), how, where, and when middle-aged and older Flemish adults obtain, circulate, and use health information and to what outcomes and effects. Two dominant lines of research are chiefly explored, namely 1) the role of online health information (OHI), and 2) health information sharing behaviour in everyday social interactions. In support of these research lines, quantitative data are presented which offer insights into the adoption and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digital media by a larger sample of Flemish middle-aged and older adults. Additionally, as part of a critical reflection on the interview fieldwork, the self-presentation efforts by interviewees is explored. That is to say, how they perceive and present themselves as rational and sensible Internet users and OHI seekers by engaging in impression management (IM).

Martijn’s doctoral research project (part of the Health, Media & Society research center at the Department of Communication Sciences, Ghent University) was supervised by Prof. Dr. Daniël Biltereyst (Ghent University), Prof. Dr. Stijn Joye (Ghent University) and Prof. Dr. Piet Bracke (Ghent University).

The doctoral jury consisted of Prof. Dr. Kathleen Beullens (KU Leuven), Prof. Dr. Thierry Christiaens (Ghent University), Dr. Annemiek Linn (University of Amsterdam), Prof. Dr. Lieven De Marez (Ghent University), Prof. Dr. Karin Raeymaeckers (Ghent University) and Prof. Dr. Sarah Van Leuven (Ghent University).