Cyberchondria: emerging themes for children’s nurses in the internet age
Intended for healthcare professionals
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Cyberchondria: emerging themes for children’s nurses in the internet age

Dean-David Holyoake Senior lecturer, University of Wolverhampton
Kerry Searle Children’s nursing student, University of Wolverhampton

Nurses are increasingly engaging in consultations with parents who have obtained information online, which has implications for the authority, expertise and reputation of health practitioners. Dean-David Holyoake and Kerry Searle explain

In many countries, anxious adults and young people are increasingly searching the web for information about their health or ill health and that of their family. This activity often increases their anxiety and confusion. Cyberchondria refers to the resulting match with real or imagined symptoms, and may lead to unnecessary medical consultation. Advantages of online searching include knowledge, empowerment, autonomy and self-responsibility. Disadvantages are increased fears and possible misinformation and misdiagnosis and inappropriate self-treatment. There is also loss of placebo-style trust in, and concordance with, professionals, who may experience reduced confidence, authority and effectiveness. However, a new and more collaborative style of consultation has developed, with the practitioner confirming or refuting information rather than protecting it.

Nursing Children and Young People. 27, 5, 34-38. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.27.5.34.e600


Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 26 November 2014

Accepted: 01 April 2015

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