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

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          Abstract

          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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          Most cited references11

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          Cluster Analysis in Marketing Research: Review and Suggestions for Application

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            The development and initial validation of the cyberchondria severity scale (CSS)

            Cyberchondria is a form of anxiety characterised by excessive online health research. It may lead to increased levels of psychological distress, worry, and unnecessary medical expenses. The aim of the present study was to develop a psychometrically sound measure of this dimension. A sample of undergraduate students (N = 208; 64% female) completed a pilot version of the cyberchondria severity scale (CSS) along with the short form version of the depression, anxiety and stress scale (DASS-21). Exploratory factor analysis identified a correlated five factor structure that were labelled 'Compulsion', 'Distress', 'Excessiveness', 'Reassurance Seeking' and 'Mistrust of Medical Professional'. The CSS demonstrated good psychometric properties; the subscales had high internal consistency, along with good concurrent and convergent validity. The CSS may prove useful in a wide variety of future research activities. It may also facilitate the development and validation of interventions for cyberchondria.
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              Does cyberchondria overlap with health anxiety and obsessive–compulsive symptoms? An examination of latent structure and scale interrelations

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Postgrad Med
                J Postgrad Med
                JPGM
                Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
                Wolters Kluwer - Medknow (India )
                0022-3859
                0972-2823
                Apr-Jun 2019
                : 65
                : 2
                : 87-92
                Affiliations
                [1]Department of Community Medicine, ESIC Medical College and PGIMSR, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Dr. Gopichandran V, E-mail: vijay.gopichandran@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                JPGM-65-87
                10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_293_18
                6515785
                31036778
                aa0addc2-cdf0-49e1-ad25-0845ca1e891a
                Copyright: © 2019 Journal of Postgraduate Medicine

                This is an open access journal, and articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as appropriate credit is given and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

                History
                : 08 June 2018
                : 06 August 2018
                : 06 September 2018
                Categories
                Original Article

                cyberchondria,excessiveness,mental well-being,reassurance

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