Melvyn WB Zhang; Bach Xuan Tran; Huong Thi Le; Hinh Duc Nguyen; Nguyễn Tất Cương; Tho Dinh Tran; Carl A Latkin; Roger CM Ho (2017). Perceptions of Health-Related Information on Facebook: Cross-Sectional Study Among Vietnamese Youths. Interactive Journal of Medical Research, 6(2):e16. (ISI, ESCI)
While health information websites may have previously been the core source of information about health-related conditions on the Internet, social networking sites are increasingly replacing those websites as a source of health-related information. The increasingly popularity of social networking sites among the general population has consequential impact on health policies as well as health-related interventions. To date, there remains a paucity of research conducted in developing countries like Vietnam looking at the influence of social networking sites.
Our goal is to establish the baseline use of Facebook among Vietnamese youths and establish their perception of the reliability and usefulness of health-related information that they previously encountered while using the social networking site.
An online cross-sectional study was conducted from August 2015 to October 2015. Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) technique was used in the recruitment of participants. Sociodemographic, health status, behaviors, Facebook use and belief of information on Facebook, and interpersonal influence of social network sites were collected via an online structured questionnaire.
Among 1080 participants, 72.87% (787/1080) reported being interested in health information on Facebook, and 50.74% (548/1080) and 17.50% (189/1080) perceived the information to be reliable and useful, respectively. A total of 10.93% (118/1080) of the participants also reported that they would follow the health advice they obtained from Facebook. Of significance, 7.13% (77/1080) of the participants also reported peer influences on their behavior. Factors that mediate Vietnamese perceptions of the information online include gender, level of perceived stress, age, educational level, and interpersonal influences from Facebook.
Our study is perhaps one of the first conducted in Vietnam that looks at the relationship between health information on Facebook and factors that might influence young Vietnamese perceptions of the information and the consequential use of that information.
©Melvyn WB Zhang, Bach Xuan Tran, Huong Thi Le, Hinh Duc Nguyen, Cuong Tat Nguyen, Tho Dinh Tran, Carl A Latkin, Roger CM Ho. Originally published in the Interactive Journal of Medical Research (http://www.i-jmr.org/), 07.09.2017.
Facebook; beliefs; health information; social media
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