Intolerance of Uncertainty and Anxiety Sensitivity as Prospective Risk Factors for Cyberchondria in Undergraduate Students
Keywords:Cyberchondria, health Anxiety, Anxiety sensitivity, Intolerance of uncertainty.
Background: Researchers have discovered a vicious loop of increased physical health concerns and online medical information seeking known as "cyberchondria," despite the benefits of widely accessible medical information on the Internet. Despite proposed theoretical models of cyberchondria, research on risk factors for the development of
cyberchondria is lacking in our setup. Anxiety sensitivity and intolerance of uncertainty are two potential risk factors.Objective: This study was conducted to determine the frequency of health related internet researches i.e cyberchondria and to locate and find association between the resultant health anxiety and intolerance of uncertainty among the medical and
non-medical students of different institutions of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted on a total of 300 students of medical and engineering universities between ages of 18 and 25 from October 2019 to March 2020 by using Cyberchondria Severity Scale, intolerance of uncertainty scale and anxiety sensitivity index scale questionnaires as data collection tool. Data collected was statistically analyzed by SPSS
version-22. Results: Out of 300 participants, 169 (56.3%) students were found positive for cyberchondria and 131 (43.7%) were found negative and majority of the positive participants were medical students. Results revealed significant association between intolerance of uncertainty (0.567, p < 0.000) as well as Anxiety sensitivity (0.805, p < 0.000) and cyberchondria among the medical and non-medical students of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
Conclusions: The current study's findings show that both Anxiety sensitivity and intolerance of uncertainty may have a role in the development of cyberchondria especially in medical students.
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