Students' trust judgements in online health information seeking

Health Informatics J. 2015 Dec;21(4):316-27. doi: 10.1177/1460458214546772. Epub 2014 Sep 5.


As one of the most active groups of Internet users, students and other young people are active users of digital health information. Yet, research into young people's evaluation of health information is limited, and no previous studies have focused on trust formation. In addition, prior studies on adults' use of digital information do not reach a consensus regarding the key factors in trust formation. This study seeks to address this gap. A questionnaire-based survey was used to collect data from undergraduate students studying a variety of disciplines in one UK university. The Trust in Online Health Information Scale is proposed, and it includes the following dimensions: authority, style, content, usefulness, brand, ease of use, recommendation, credibility, and verification. In addition, inspection of responses to specific items/questions provides further insights into aspects of the information that were of specific importance in influencing trust judgements.

Keywords: credibility; information literacy; online health information; students; trust.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Consumer Health Information / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Information Literacy
  • Information Seeking Behavior*
  • Internet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Students / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trust / psychology
  • Young Adult