Cyberchondria is a dysfunctional behavioral pattern characterized by an excessive and anxiety-amplifying engagement in searching for reassuring health information on the Internet. Research demonstrated that somatic symptoms and health anxiety might foster maladaptive health-related behaviors, such as cyberchondria. However, the relationships between somatic symptoms, health anxiety, and cyberchondria have been scarcely examined. Accordingly, this study aimed to test the mediating effect of health anxiety on the association between somatic symptoms and cyberchondria. Four hundred and thirty-one adults from the community (158 males, 36.66%), aged between 18 and 74, were recruited via an online survey. Participants completed self-report measures of somatic symptoms, health anxiety, and cyberchondria. A mediation analysis demonstrated that the severity of somatic symptoms predicted increased levels of cyberchondria and that health anxiety partially mediated this association. Therefore, interventions aimed at decreasing health anxiety may also play a role in decreasing the risk of developing cyberchondria.

The Doctor Is In(ternet): The Mediating Role of Health Anxiety in the Relationship between Somatic Symptoms and Cyberchondria

Santoro, Gianluca
;
Scalone, Andrea;Schimmenti, Adriano
2022-01-01

Abstract

Cyberchondria is a dysfunctional behavioral pattern characterized by an excessive and anxiety-amplifying engagement in searching for reassuring health information on the Internet. Research demonstrated that somatic symptoms and health anxiety might foster maladaptive health-related behaviors, such as cyberchondria. However, the relationships between somatic symptoms, health anxiety, and cyberchondria have been scarcely examined. Accordingly, this study aimed to test the mediating effect of health anxiety on the association between somatic symptoms and cyberchondria. Four hundred and thirty-one adults from the community (158 males, 36.66%), aged between 18 and 74, were recruited via an online survey. Participants completed self-report measures of somatic symptoms, health anxiety, and cyberchondria. A mediation analysis demonstrated that the severity of somatic symptoms predicted increased levels of cyberchondria and that health anxiety partially mediated this association. Therefore, interventions aimed at decreasing health anxiety may also play a role in decreasing the risk of developing cyberchondria.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/155904
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