Calling Dr. Internet: Analyzing News Coverage of Cyberchondria

Han Zheng, Edson C. Tandoc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduced and popularized by the news media, cyberchondria refers to excessive online health information searches associated with escalation of health anxiety. It has since received attention from researchers and health professionals. While many studies have focused on investigating the relationship between increased health anxiety and excessive online information seeking as well as factors associated with cyberchondria, there remains little knowledge regarding how the media represent cyberchondria, despite the fact that cyberchondria as a term was popularized by the news media. Through a discourse analysis of 148 news articles, this exploratory study examines the ways the news media defined and portrayed cyberchondria. While news coverage offers various ways to define and label cyberchondria, many news reports recognize that cyberchondria is a multi-level issue that requires multidimensional efforts from patients, doctors and technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1001-1017
Number of pages17
JournalJournalism Practice
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • coping strategies
  • Cyberchondria
  • discourse analysis
  • excessive online health information seeking
  • health anxiety
  • news media

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