Attitudes among young adults towards health information seeking on the Internet : And their awareness and use of the Journalen in Sweden

University essay from Karlstads universitet/Handelshögskolan (from 2013)

Abstract: In this study health information seeking behaviour among young adults is investigated and attitudes toward available health information examined. Further, the electronic health record(EHR), ‘Journalen’, is investigated among young adults that use the health services in Sweden. The aim of this study is to gain insight in young adults’ health information seeking behaviour on the Internet.   A survey of health information seeking behaviour among young adults, 18-29 years old, reports that as well as searching for information for their own use, searching for information to help family and friends is also their practice. 95.4% say that they search for health information on the Web.   Overall, the top five categories of information searched are Personal Health, Symptoms, Healthy Diet, Mental Health and Treatment. For the Top five Information searches for themselves(’Self’), Mental Health is displaced by Disease Prevention. Health information categories sought the least by the young adults are information about Illegal Drugs, Allied Health, Alternative medicine and Support Groups. Respondents mostly report a high regard for the information they retrieve in their searches.   The majority rate the quality of health information as ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’. Broadly speaking the young adults trust the health information found online but say that the quality of health information varies from source to source. is often referred to as a trustworthy source among the respondents and according to them good quality information can be found there. The respondents use of support groups for themselves is reported, as well an altruistic motivation to support others. While the motivation for many searches is to avoid attending a health professional, approximately one-third report searching after their visit.   This study demonstrates that young adults are active consumers of health information on the Internet and their attitudes toward the available health information are generally positive. Of the respondents who are Swedish residents, 42% are unaware of the availability of their electronic health record in Sweden, Journalen, and of those 56.7% who know of it, 18% have never accessed their EHRs.  More research is needed to investigate the reason for the relatively low numbers of the young adults’ awareness and use of the Journelen. The aim of the study is discussed in the Introduction chapter and research questions identified. The research design is described in the methodology chapter and how data is collected through a survey. Results are presented in Tables and Figures and further analysed in the Analysis chapter in context of earlier research. Finally, the researcher concludes on the study and what could be learned from the findings.

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