HEALTH INFORMATION SEEKING BEHAVIOR OF COLLEGE STUDENTS IN THE SULTANATE OF OMAN

Khalid Sultan, Varghese Riju Joshua, Udayan Misra

Abstract


OBJECTIVES: to study various types of health information seeking behaviour (HISB) among college students in Oman and to study the factors affecting students’ HISB and sources of health information (HI).

METHODS: Survey was conducted in six colleges in different governorates of Oman collected in 2014 and in 2016. English to Arabic translated questionnaires were used to collect data from undergraduate students. SPSS was used, descriptive statistics and chi-square tests at p<0.05 were done for data analysis.

RESULTS: Personal sickness (89% in 2014 and 88% in 2016) and family sickness (94% in 2014 & 92% in 2016) were the common factors affecting/initiating HISB. Health messages in print (65% in 2014 & 2016) & electronic media (62% in 2014 & 66% in 2016) are main initiating factors for seeking HI.  Internet (89%), family members (85.8% in 2014 & 88.9% in 2016), experts-non doctors (82.8% in 2014 & 81.8% in 2016) & doctors/medics (75.7% in 2014, & 83.9% in 2016) were the common sources of HI. Whatsapp (51.6% in 2004 & 45.3% in 2016) and general websites (46.3% in 2014 & 48% in 2016) were the commonest media sources of HI. Gender and other demographic variable were not significantly associated (p>0.05) with HISB of students.

CONCLUSION: Personal/family sickness & media were the common factors affecting/initiating HISB.  Majority of student are seeking HI from internet, family members, experts-non doctors & doctors/medics. Whatsapp and internet were the commonest media sources of HI. HISB needs to be documented for theorizing messages, developing social and health initiatives. 

KEY WORDS: Health Education (MeSH), Health Literacy (MeSH), Health Information seeking behaviour (Non-MeSH), Health Communication (Non-MeSH), Health information(Non-MeSH), 


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