Campbell, Gemme M (2016-05). Seeking vs. Avoidance: How Young Adults Manage Uncertainty Regarding How the Affordable Care Act Impacts Them. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • One of the first provisions to go into effect with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 allowed young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 to remain on a parents' insurance policy as a dependent, which led to an expansion in coverage for a group that formally held the least amount of coverage or no coverage. Although many young adults are aware that they can remain on a parents' private insurance policy, many may not fully understand how provisions of the law uniquely impact them or its long-term impacts. This study utilized Uncertainty Management Theory to explore how young adults' cognitive appraisals of uncertainty about how the ACA impacts them and their emotional responses to that uncertainty predict their information management behaviors. Additionally, this study goes further to investigate how young adults handle or evaluate information they find from a search and how it impacts their levels of uncertainty. Results of this study show that young adults uncertainty appraisals alone predict their information management behaviors, not emotional responses. Results also show that young adults reported having more information or certainty than they wanted after conducting an information search, suggesting they may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available about the ACA.

publication date

  • May 2016