Objectives: The purpose of this study is to investigate how US newspapers reported cyberchondria from 2009 to 2021. Cyberchondria shares similarities with addiction, making it imperative to delve into its representation in media. Cyberchondria refers to an issue of excessive and repetitive internet searches for health information often accompanied by obsessive-compulsive behavior. The goal of this research is locate the frames that appear in cyberchondria coverage, look at how the frames have changed over the given time span, and assess the emotions that the news frames portray.
Method: After collecting the relevant news items, the study applies correspondence analysis, sentiment analysis, and cooccurrence network analysis. The NRC word-emotion lexicon is used for sentiment analysis, while the Fruchterman and Reingold algorithm is used for co-occurrence network analysis.
Results: The co-occurrence network analysis reveals six frames in cyberchondria coverage. The frames depict themes such as defining cyberchondria, the impact on healthcare providers, health information-seeking behavior, internet diagnosis, and the exaggeration of health concerns. Sentiment analysis reveals that the predominant feeling, which reflects both the positive and negative elements of cyberchondria, is trust, followed by fear. Coding strategies validate the covering themes’ consistency during the years under examination. Correspondence analysis indicates a consistent framing pattern over the years, and we can see an increasing focus on academic studies addressing cyberchondria.
Conclusions: The results point to the necessity of ongoing public awareness campaigns, health literacy initiatives, and stakeholder collaboration to effectively address the problems associated with cyberchondria addiction in the digital age. Policymakersand media practitioners can benefit greatly from the study’s insightful contributions in reducing the negative effects of cyberchondria addiction on society.
Afrin R, Mumtahina O, Prybutok G, Harun A, Prybutok VR, et al. Exploring the Coverage of Cyberchondria Addiction in Newspapers: A Perspective from the USA. J Addict Recovery. 2023; 6(2): 1043.
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Journal of Addiction and Recovery