Health Information Seeking Behavior of College Students in the Sultanate of Oman

Khalid Sultan, Varghese Riju Joshua, Udayan Misra



1.         To observe the health information seeking behaviour (HISB) of college students in Oman.

2.         To identify the various sources of health information (HI) for students.

3.         To identify the factors affecting/situations initiating HISB of students.


This cross-sectional study was conducted in six colleges in different governorates of Oman. English to Arabic translated questionnaires were used to collect data from undergraduate students in 2014 and 2016. SPSS was used for statistical analysis.


 Family & personal sickness were most frequent factors affecting HISB in 2014 (94% & 89%) and 2016 (92% & 88%) respectively. Print media (65%) & internet (64% & 68%) led to initiation of HISB in 2014 & 2016 respectively. Online media (social media and mobile applications) use in HISB of students increased from 60% in 2014 to 69% in 2016. About 64% (2014) & 68% (2016) students used web-based search. Family members (85.8% &88.9%), internet (83.3% & 88.9%) and doctors (75.7% & 83.9%) were the main sources of HI for students in 2014 & 2016 respectively. General websites (46.3% in 2014 & 48% in 2016) and WhatsApp (51.6% in 2014 & 45.3% in 2016) were commonly used media for seeking HI.  


Students are likely to involve in active and passive HISB. Person and family health situations triggers active information and most students prefer doctors and family as reliable source for HI. The popularity of online medium was substantial source for HI. HISB needs to be documented for theorizing messages, developing social and health initiatives.   


Health Communication (MeSH), Information Seeking Behavior (MeSH), Health Information seeking behaviour (Non-MeSH), Health information (Non-MeSH)


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