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Playing doctor: the risks of seeking health-information on the internet

Groot, M.J.A.M. de (2010) Playing doctor: the risks of seeking health-information on the internet.

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Abstract:Objective: the objective of this study is to investigate why people search online for medical information and whether they are capable of correctly interpreting the gathered information. Method: Based on theories regarding information seeking behavior and health risk communication a digital survey is conducted. The survey focuses on the reasons for participants to use the internet for search for health related information. To test whether respondents are capable of processing and interpreting medical information correctly the respondents are randomly split into four groups. Each group is given a medical text that is questioned on accuracy. The four texts differ in accuracy and complexity. Results and conclusions: The research shows what type of information people search for on the internet and the socio-cognitive factors underlying this behavior. Furthermore it shows how people validate medical texts. The research indicates that laymen do not possess the skills to adequately validate medical information
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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