University of Twente Student Theses


Cyberchondria in Relation to Uncertainty and Risk Perception

Schulte, K.L. (2016) Cyberchondria in Relation to Uncertainty and Risk Perception.

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Abstract:Due to consumers’ increased access, the Internet makes it much easier for many people to seek health information themselves and become more involved in their own healthcare. Nevertheless studies have shown that the use of the Internet can lead to consumers misdiagnosing themselves and adopting treatments that are inappropriate. They persist in high levels of anxiety, rather than seeking advice from a qualified health care professional. This makes the web a potentially dangerous place for health information seekers. Thus, increased consumer access to self-diagnosis tools creates a double-edged sword for consumer well-being (White & Horvitz, 2009). The purpose of this study is to solve this dilemma or respectively enhance the conditions for consumers and professionals by analyzing information seeking behavior. In this research, the main focus was put on uncertainty, measured by information sufficiency. Therefore, the correlation between information sufficiency and information seeking frequency, risk perception and the probability of making wrong self-diagnoses was examined by means of a survey. The results showed that there is a correlation between information sufficiency and the probability of making wrong self-diagnoses. However, the research underlines the importance of focusing on the adjustment of ‘the doctor in the mouse’ and taking this phenomenon seriously.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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