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Health Information National Trends Survey


The Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) is a biennial, cross-sectional survey of a nationally-representative sample of American adults that assesses the impact of the health information environment. HINTS measures how people access and use health information; how people use information technology to manage health and health information; and the degree to which people are engaged in healthy behaviors. Several items in HINTS have a specific focus on cancer prevention and control.

National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute
Data Years Available: 
2003, 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013, 2014
Mode of Collection: 
Two modes were used for the 2007 survey: telephone interviews and mail questionnaires.
Selected Content: 
Areas covered in HINTS include: health communication (e.g., media exposure, trust in information sources, internet use); mental modes of cancer (e.g., knowledge and beliefs, perceived risks); risk behaviors (e.g., nutrition, physical activity, smoking); and respondent characteristics.
Population Covered: 
U.S. adult population.

The 2007 HINTS survey was administered using 2 modes (telephone and mail). The telephone sample was drawn from a random-digit-dial (RDD) sample frame. Households reached were screened and one eligible adult per household was selected for an extended telephone interview. The mail survey was based on a list of all addresses to which the U.S. postal service delivers residential mail. The sample was stratified into two components, a high minority stratum and a low minority stratum, with oversampling in the high minority group. Unlike the RDD sample, all adults in the sampled household were asked to complete the questionnaire. After data editing and cleaning, the RDD and mail data were merged into a master data base. Weights were applied for stratification and nonresponse.

Response Rates and Sample Size: 

HINTS is affected by the continually worsening problem of nonresponse that impacts all RDD telephone household surveys. In 2007, 7,674 persons participated in HINTS. The RDD overall weighted response rate was 24.23%; the mail survey overall weighted response rate was 30.99%. More detailed information on response rates can be found in the HINTS 2007 Final Report.

Interpretation Issues: 

Cantor D., et al. Health Information National Trends Study (HINTS) 2007 Final Report. Available at: