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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 87-92

Prevalence and correlates of cyberchondria among professionals working in the information technology sector in Chennai, India: A cross-sectional study

Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College and PGIMSR, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
V Gopichandran
Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College and PGIMSR, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_293_18

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Background: Cyberchondria is the excessive searching of online health information that leads to anxiety and distress. There is scarce information about its prevalence in low and middle-income country settings. Objectives: The objective of the study was to assess the prevalence and factors influencing cyberchondria among employees working in the information technology sector in India. Methods: An emailed questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey was conducted among 205 employees working in various information technology firms in and around Chennai. The data were analyzed using nonhierarchical k-means cluster analysis to group participants with and without cyberchondria on its four subdomains. The association of cyberchondria with general mental health as measured by the General Health Questionnaire 12 was studied using independent sample t-test. Logistic regression analysis was performed to study the association between general mental health and cyberchondria after adjusting for sociodemographic covariates. Results: The prevalence of cyberchondria was 55.6%. The dominant pattern was excessiveness of online searching, requirement of reassurance followed by distress due to health anxiety, and compulsivity. Cyberchondria was negatively associated with general mental health (adj. OR 0.923; 95% CI 0.882–0.967) after adjusting for age, sex, education, and years of service. Conclusions: Cyberchondria is an emerging public mental health problem in India. Since it is associated with poor mental health, measures need to be adopted to evaluate, prevent, and treat it at the population level.


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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow