By combining theories from communication science, cognitive aging, life-span psychology and education science, this dissertation aimed to provide insight into (1) the effects of illustrations and videos on older adults’ website satisfaction and recall of online cancer information, (2) the underlying processes explaining those relationships, and (3) the role of age and age-related factors.
Using experiments as well as survey and eye-tracking methodology among 973 healthy adults and 540 (ex-)cancer patients, results revealed that being more emotionally satisfied with the website led to greater recall of information for older adults, but not for younger ones. Both illustrations and videos enhanced website satisfaction and recall of information. In particular, conversational-styled videos in which an older, likable narrator tells a compelling story, were effective for older adults.
Next to satisfaction with the emotional support, older cancer patients’ recall was influenced by other message experience characteristics (e.g., perceived cognitive load) and individual characteristics (e.g., health literacy, frailty), but not by chronological age. The studies discussed in this dissertation deepen our understanding of how to present online cancer materials in such a way that older patients can effectively process online cancer information.