Internet health information is easily accessible; however it is often inaccurate or misconstrued. Currently, health information utilization and internet media exposure have been found to predict Covid-19 anxiety. In other words, seeking Covid-19-related information from the internet is associated with greater anxiety, which could be related to the lack of inaccuracy of this type of information.
Notably, the credibility of online health information has often been questioned as shown by prior evidence of misinformation during previous pandemics, such as Influenza and Ebola. For example, there are presently substantial inaccurate information related to Covid-19 that is can be found on the net. Many outrageous claims circulated on the internet about dubious products that could cure Covid-19, as well as sensational but fake stories about Covid-19 deaths (e.g., Covid-19 deaths linked to ibuprofen).
Accordingly, people who collect more online information about Covid-19 tend to be more anxious. Misinformation can lead to dysfunctional beliefs about one’s health and biased perception of bodily functions. As a result, they may experience obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors caused by overestimating the probability of catching Covid-19.
Thus, personal regulation of access to Covid-19 online information could help control anxiety. Also seeking reliable internet sources is crucial to limit the spread of misinformation, check your Covid-19 facts at https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/rumor-control
Yasmina Rebani Lee
Shabahang, Reza & Aruguete, Mara & McCutcheon, Lynn. (2020). Online Health Information Utilization and Online News Exposure as Predictor of COVID19 Anxiety. North American Journal of Psychology. 22. 469-482