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Cyberchondria: a systematic review

Han Zheng (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)
Sei-Ching Joanna Sin (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)
Hye Kyung Kim (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)
Yin-Leng Theng (Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Singapore)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 27 October 2020

Issue publication date: 10 March 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Cyberchondria describes excessive or repeated online health-related information seeking associated with an increased level of health anxiety. Given the nascent nature of the concept of cyberchondria, this systematic review attempts to summarize the current landscape of cyberchondria research.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on a comprehensive search and systematic filtering process, 40 articles were included in the final sample.

Findings

Characteristics of these articles, measures of cyberchondria and factors related to cyberchondria were reported. This review found that the measures of cyberchondria are still in the developmental stages and thus require further validation in future studies. In addition, while studies have examined various factors associated with cyberchondria, the detailed processes involved in the development of cyberchondria require further conceptualization.

Originality/value

The contributions of this review are threefold: first, it presented a comprehensive overview of studies on cyberchondria by addressing their key characteristics such as country of study, sample size and research method. Second, this review analyzed major assessment tools of cyberchondria to offer useful guidance on future investigations on cyberchondria. Third, it identified important antecedents and consequences of cyberchondria in previous research, which contributes to theoretical understanding of how cyberchondria develops.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Declaration of interest: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Citation

Zheng, H., Sin, S.-C.J., Kim, H.K. and Theng, Y.-L. (2021), "Cyberchondria: a systematic review", Internet Research, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 677-698. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-03-2020-0148

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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