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The Relationship Between Digital Literacy and Cyberchondria

The Relationship Between Digital Literacy and Cyberchondria
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Author(s): Ali Murat Kırık (Faculty of Communication, Marmara University, Turkey) and Ahmet Çetinkaya (Faculty of Communication, Marmara University, Turkey)
Copyright: 2022
Pages: 14
Source title: Handbook of Research on Cyberchondria, Health Literacy, and the Role of Media in Society’s Perception of Medical Information
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Hacer Aker (Selcuk University, Turkey) and Mary Aiken (University of East London, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8630-3.ch016

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Abstract

Cyberchondria refers to the state of performing repeated and excessive health-related searches on the internet leading to elevated levels of distress or health anxiety. It may have unpleasant consequences such as heightened anxiety, overwhelming information load, and troubled patient-physician relationship. To overcome the negative effects of cyberchondria, several strategies were suggested in the literature. In this chapter, enhancing digital and health literacy skills is presented as an important approach for tackling with undesirable effects of excessive health-related internet use. Basic dimensions of digital literacy are pointed out, as well as digital literacy skills. Health literacy is defined and reviewed in digital literacy framework. E-health literacy is associated with digital literacy. Searching the internet for medical information would deliver its true value through improved digital and health literacy skills. Individuals would accurately evaluate online health information, properly interpret the search results, and take the reasonable steps in applying the acquired knowledge.

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