The internet fuels anxiety among people who self-diagnose illnesses online, Microsoft researchers have revealed.
Ryen White and Eric Horvitz from the Microsoft research team have published a study that reveals people assume they are sicker than they actually are when reading diagnoses online.
“The web has the potential to increase the anxieties of people who have little or no medical training, especially when web search is employed as a diagnostic procedure,” the two write.
“We use the term ‘cyberchondria’ to refer to the unfounded escalation of concerns about common symptomatology, based on the review of search results and literature on the web.”
The team searched the web browsing of 515 internet users, and how they accessed medical information online – the two point out previous studies which show as many as 70% of health websites contain inaccurate information.