Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

This study examined the relationship between health anxiety and searching for health information online, a phenomenon dubbed 'cyberchondria'. The majority of those with 'high' (n=46) and 'low' (n=36) levels of health anxiety reported seeking health information online. However, those with higher levels of health anxiety sought online health information more frequently, spent longer searching, and found searching more distressing and anxiety provoking. Furthermore, more responses in the high than low health anxiety group related to searching for information on diagnosed and undiagnosed medical conditions, descriptions of others' experiences of illnesses and using message boards/support groups, although the largest proportion of responses in both groups was accounted for by seeking information on symptoms. Linear regression (n=167) revealed significant relationships between health anxiety and the frequency, duration and distress and anxiety associated with searching for health information online. This preliminary data suggests that searching for health information online may exacerbate health anxiety.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.janxdis.2011.11.005

Type

Journal article

Journal

Journal of Anxiety Disorders

Pages

189 - 196