Perceived Usefulness and Effects of Online Health Information among Users amid Covid19; Is there any role of demographics?


Volume 2 Issue 1 2021


Shabana Asgher
Lahore College for Women

Iqra Gohar
Lahore College for Women

Abstract Since March 11, 2020, when WHO declared Covid19 as a worldwide pandemic, a drastic change in the lives of individuals and nations can be witnessed. The constrained mobility and restricted capacity of local governments in providing health care services resulted as an increased dependence of people on alternate sources of information and guidance regarding their health. This has transformed the ways people take care of their health and make health related decisions for themselves or their dear ones. This article contributes to the growing body of research on new media by exploring the role of internet as a source of health information, specifically through the lens of Uses and gratification and Dependency theory. A questionnaire-based online survey collected data from users belonging to different age and income groups regarding needs, perceived usefulness and cyberchondric effects of OHI among them. Findings revealed websites and discussion forums as to be most extensively used sources of OHI followed by Facebook and YouTube. To get information and updates of Covid19, to take precautionary measures for Covid19 and to check for the symptoms of Covid19 were reported as major needs by the users. The ratio of the usage of internet for health-related information about health issues other than Covid19 was also significantly higher. To avoid in person, visit to physician, ubiquity, and quick and easy retrieval of information from divers’ sources were the reported reasons for this increased usage. Results demonstrate that during Covid19, both the usage of internet as an alternative source of HI needs and its perceived usefulness was significantly higher. Statistical analysis revealed difference in perceived usefulness of OHI during Covid19 due to gender, income, education and health status of the respondents. Similarly, the study revealed a strong positive relationship between Usage and Perceived usefulness of OHI. The strong relationship between Usage and psychological effect show ever was found to marginalize the significance of OHI.
Keywords Online health information (OHI), Health information source (HIS), Perceived Usefulness, Cyberchondric effects
Year 2021
Volume 2
Issue 1
Type Research paper, manuscript, article
Recognized by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, HEC
Category "Y"
Journal Name ILMA Journal of Social Sciences & Economics
Publisher Name ILMA University
Jel Classification -
ISSN no (E, Electronic) 2709-2232
ISSN no (P, Print) -
Country Pakistan
City Karachi
Institution Type University
Journal Type Open Access
Manuscript Processing Blind Peer Reviewed
Format PDF
Paper Link
Page -