Cyberchondria in the time of the COVID ‐19 pandemic

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Version: Final published version
License: Not specified
Serval ID
serval:BIB_0785C1B81C8C
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Cyberchondria in the time of the COVID ‐19 pandemic
Journal
Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies
Author(s)
Starcevic Vladan, Schimmenti Adriano, Billieux Joël, Berle David
ISSN
2578-1863
2578-1863
Publication state
Published
Issued date
2021
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
3
Pages
53-62
Language
english
Abstract
Cyberchondria is an excessive or repeated online health information seeking that is associated with increasing levels of health anxiety or distress. This article presents a model of cyberchondria during public health crises such as the COVID‐19 pandemic. The factors that contribute to cyberchondria at this time include (a) a heightened perception of threat and fear of a newly identified and poorly understood disease; (b) difficulty in coping with uncertainty associated with the pandemic; (c) lack of authoritative and trustworthy sources of relevant health information; (d) difficulty in coping with abundance of information that is often confusing, conflicting, unverified and constantly updated, along with a decreased ability to filter out unnecessary information; and (e) inability of excessive online health information seeking to provide the necessary information and deliver reassurance. These factors amplify fear and distress, which increases the perception of threat and uncertainty and perpetuates further online health searches. Cyberchondria has significant public health implications because of the associated distress or functional impairment and effects on health behaviors. Cyberchondria should be addressed by targeting a heightened perception of threat, improving management of uncertainty and online health information and promoting an ability to critically appraise the results of online health searches. This should contribute to a better online health information literacy. The model of cyberchondria during the COVID‐19 pandemic explains the hypothesized rise in cyberchondria during public health emergencies and helps to formulate a framework for prevention of cyberchondria and its effective management.
Keywords
Covid-19, Cyberchondria, Model, Pandemic, Covid, Health Anxiety
Open Access
Yes
Create date
06/12/2020 12:54
Last modification date
12/02/2021 7:25
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