Information Systems Faculty Publications and Presentations

More is better? Understanding the effects of online interactions on patients health anxiety

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Online health platforms play an important role in chronic disease management. Patients participate in online health platforms to receive and provide health-related support from each other. However, there remains a debate about whether the influence of social interaction on patient health anxiety is linearly positive. Based on uncertainty, information overload, and the theory of motivational information management, we develop and test a model considering a potential curvilinear relationship between social interaction and health anxiety, as well as a moderating effect of health literacy. We collect patient interaction data from an online health platform based on chronic disease management in China and use text mining and econometrics to test our hypotheses. Specifically, we find an inverted U-shaped relationship between informational provision and health anxiety. Our results also show that information receipt and emotion provision have U-shaped relationships with health anxiety. Interestingly, health literacy can effectively alleviate the U-shaped relationship between information receipt and health anxiety. These findings not only provide new insights into the literature on online patient interactions but also provide decision support for patients and platform managers.


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