Why Does Health Information Acquisition Increase Physician Visits? : The Role of Hypochondriasis
건강정보이용과 건강염려증, 병원방문간의 관계

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사회과학대학 언론정보학과
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서울대학교 대학원
HypochondriasisHypochondriaCyberchondriaHealth anxietyOnline health informationPhysician visits건강염려증
학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 사회과학대학 언론정보학과, 2018. 2. 이철주.
Hypochondriasis refers to the overwhelming fear of having a serious illness despite the absence of an actual medical condition. Hypochondriasis is also considered as a health anxiety. Hypochondriasis in South Korea is of particular concern in public health due to general populations high consciousness in health. However, compared to Western countries, a few studies have addressed hypochondriasis in South Korea. This study focused on health information acquisition as one cause of hypochondriasis. In the information age, people often obtain health information not only from online sources but also from different information sources (television, print media, interpersonal communication). If people whom acquire health information are more likely to be concerned about their health status, then the relationship between health information acquisition and hypochondriasis should be examined. The effects of health information acquisition from the internet on hypochondriasis have been well studied, but the effects of health information acquisition from various information sources on hypochondriasis have been under researched. Thus, this study aimed to answer the following question: Does health information acquired through various information sources influence hypochondriasis?

Furthermore, understanding both health information acquisition and hypochondriasis is imperative because they are both correlated with medical costs. Due to the fact that the health information acquired from non-physician sources is uncertain, it may increase the frequency of physician visits. Also, hypochondriasis is one of the main causes of increased medical costs worldwide. Therefore, this study is aimed to empirically test the relationships among health information acquisition, hypochondriasis, and physician visits by conducting a nationally representative survey in South Korea.

South Korean population between 19 and 59 years of age participated in a two-wave longitudinal survey (N = 2,000 at Wave 1 and N = 1,300 at Wave 2). The results indicated that health information acquisition at Wave 1 predicted hypochondriasis at Wave 1, which in turn increased physician visits at Wave 2, after controlling for Wave 1 physician visits and other potential confounders. This result suggested that people who acquire health information from numerous information sources are more likely to suffer from hypochondriasis, which results in increased physician visits. Also, hypochondriasis is a mediator of the relationship between health information acquisition and physician visits.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Dept. of Communication (언론정보학과)Theses (Master's Degree_언론정보학과)
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