Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 79, Issue 4, pp 301–309 | Cite as

Internet Use by Patients with Psychiatric Disorders in Search for General and Medical Informations

  • Yasser Khazaal
  • Anne Chatton
  • Sophie Cochand
  • Aliosca Hoch
  • Mona B. Khankarli
  • Riaz Khan
  • Daniele Fabio Zullino
Original Paper


Background Internet is commonly used by the general population, notably for health information-seeking. There has been little research into its use by patients treated for a psychiatric disorder. Aim To evaluate the use of internet by patients with psychiatric disorders in searching for general and medical information. Methods In 2007, 319 patients followed in a university hospital psychiatric out-patient clinic, completed a 28-items self-administered questionnaire. Results Two hundred patients surveyed were internet users. Most of them (68.5%) used internet in order to find health-related information. Only a small part of the patients knew and used criteria reflecting the quality of contents of the websites consulted. Knowledge of English and private Internet access were the factors significantly associated with the search of information on health on Internet. Conclusions Internet is currently used by patients treated for psychiatric disorders, especially for medical seeking information.


Internet Information services Service users Psychiatric disorders 



To the patients who participated in the study and their healthcare providers. To Dr. Jean Gabriel Jeannot for his support.


  1. 1.
    Powell J, Clarke A: The WWW of the world wide web: who, what, and why? Journal of Medical Internet Research 4(1):e4, 2002. doi: 10.2196/jmir.4.1.e4 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Yellowlees PM, Brooks PM: Health online: the future isn’t what it used to be. The Medical Journal of Australia 171(10):522–525, 1999PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Powell J, Clarke A: Internet information-seeking in mental health: population survey. The British Journal of Psychiatry 189:273–277, 2006. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.105.017319 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Skinner H, Biscope S, Poland B: Quality of internet access: barrier behind internet use statistics. Social Science and Medicine 57(5):875–880, 2003. doi: 10.1016/S0277-9536(02)00455-0 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Umefjord G, Petersson G, Hamberg K: Reasons for consulting a doctor on the Internet: web survey of users of an Ask the Doctor service. Journal of Medical Internet Research 5(4):e26, 2003. doi: 10.2196/jmir.5.4.e26 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cline RJ, Haynes KM: Consumer health information seeking on the Internet: the state of the art. Health Education Research 16(6):671–692, 2001. doi: 10.1093/her/16.6.671 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Shuyler KS, Knight KM: What are patients seeking when they turn to the Internet? Qualitative content analysis of questions asked by visitors to an orthopaedics Web site. Journal of Medical Internet Research 5(4):e24, 2003. doi: 10.2196/jmir.5.4.e24 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bowen D: Predictors of women’s Internet access and Internet health seeking. Health Care for Women International 24(10):940–951, 2003. doi: 10.1080/07399330390244130 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dickerson S, Reinhart AM, Feeley TH, et al: Patient Internet use for health information at three urban primary care clinics. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 11(6):499–504, 2004. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M1460 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jeannot JG, Froehlich F, Wietlisbach V, et al.: Patient use of the Internet for health care information in Switzerland. Swiss Medical Weekly 134(21–22):307–312, 2004PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tu HT, Hargraves JL: Seeking health care information: most consumers still on the sidelines. Issue Brief Center for Studying Health System Change 61:1–4, 2003PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Rice RE: Influences, usage, and outcomes of Internet health information searching: multivariate results from the Pew surveys. International Journal of Medical Informatics 75(1):8–28, 2006. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2005.07.032 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Andersson G, Bergstrom J, Hollandare F, et al: Internet-based self-help for depression: randomised controlled trial. The British Journal of Psychiatry 187:456–461, 2005. doi: 10.1192/bjp.187.5.456 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Griffiths KM, Christensen H: Quality of web based information on treatment of depression: cross sectional survey. BMJ 321(7275):1511–1515, 2000. doi: 10.1136/bmj.321.7275.1511 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Boyer C, Selby M, Appel RD: The health on the net code of conduct for medical and health web sites. Medinfo 9(Pt 2):1163–1166, 1998Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Boyer C, Selby M, Scherrer JR, et al.: The health on the net code of conduct for medical and health websites. Computers in Biology and Medicine 28(5):603–610, 1998. doi: 10.1016/S0010-4825(98)00037-7 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Eysenbach G, Powell J, Kuss O, et al.: Empirical studies assessing the quality of health information for consumers on the world wide web: a systematic review. JAMA 287(20):2691–2700, 2002. doi: 10.1001/jama.287.20.2691 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yasser Khazaal
    • 1
  • Anne Chatton
    • 1
  • Sophie Cochand
    • 1
  • Aliosca Hoch
    • 1
  • Mona B. Khankarli
    • 2
  • Riaz Khan
    • 1
  • Daniele Fabio Zullino
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Substance AbuseGeneva University HospitalsGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.University HospitalsLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations