Why Some Cyberchondriacs Are Worse Off Than Others

Obsessively searching the Internet for fixes to real or perceived health problems creates more anxiety in those who have a lower tolerance for uncertainty, says a Baylor University researcher.

What's the Latest Development?


While many people use the Internet to help them research a particular health concern or condition, not everyone benefits from doing so, according to a new Baylor University study published online in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. Study author Thomas Fergus questioned healthy participants on their tolerance for uncertainty as well as how they were affected emotionally by online health searches. The lower a person's tolerance for uncertainty, the more anxiety they were likely to experience when searching for medical information.

What's the Big Idea?

"Cyberchondriac" is the term used by researchers to describe people who experience anxiety when obsessively searching the Internet for fixes to real or perceived health issues. For people who already suffer from anxiety issues, doing online medical searches could be especially risky. For some, concern over possibly having a disease can lead to added stress and worry about other areas of life, such as finances and job security. Plus, says Fergus, medical books and doctors tend to give a limited number of possibilities, whereas "online you're presented with so many."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at LiveScience

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

People who engage in fat-shaming tend to score high in this personality trait

A new study explores how certain personality traits affect individuals' attitudes on obesity in others.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • The study compared personality traits and obesity views among more than 3,000 mothers.
  • The results showed that the personality traits neuroticism and extraversion are linked to more negative views and behaviors related to obesity.
  • People who scored high in conscientiousness are more likely to experience "fat phobia.
Keep reading Show less

4 anti-scientific beliefs and their damaging consequences

The rise of anti-scientific thinking and conspiracy is a concerning trend.

Moon Landing Apollo
popular
  • Fifty years later after one of the greatest achievements of mankind, there's a growing number of moon landing deniers. They are part of a larger trend of anti-scientific thinking.
  • Climate change, anti-vaccination and other assorted conspiratorial mindsets are a detriment and show a tangible impediment to fostering real progress or societal change.
  • All of these separate anti-scientific beliefs share a troubling root of intellectual dishonesty and ignorance.
Keep reading Show less

Reigning in brutality - how one man's outrage led to the Red Cross and the Geneva Conventions

The history of the Geneva Conventions tells us how the international community draws the line on brutality.

Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino. Painting by Adolphe Yvon. 1861.
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Henry Dunant's work led to the Red Cross and conventions on treating prisoners humanely.
  • Four Geneva Conventions defined the rules for prisoners of war, torture, naval and medical personnel and more.
  • Amendments to the agreements reflect the modern world but have not been ratified by all countries.
Keep reading Show less