Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

COVID-19 and Health Information Seeking Behavior: Digital Health Literacy Survey Amongst University Students in Pakistan

Version 1 : Received: 8 March 2021 / Approved: 10 March 2021 / Online: 10 March 2021 (15:07:22 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Zakar, R.; Iqbal, S.; Zakar, M.Z.; Fischer, F. COVID-19 and Health Information Seeking Behavior: Digital Health Literacy Survey amongst University Students in Pakistan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 4009. Zakar, R.; Iqbal, S.; Zakar, M.Z.; Fischer, F. COVID-19 and Health Information Seeking Behavior: Digital Health Literacy Survey amongst University Students in Pakistan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 4009.

Journal reference: Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 4009
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph18084009

Abstract

Amid to the COVID-19 pandemic, digital health literacy (DHL) has become a significant public health concern. This research aims to assess information seeking behavior, as well as the ability to find relevant information and deal with DHL among university students in Pakistan. An online-based cross-sectional survey, using a web-based interviewing technique, was conducted to collect data on DHL. Simple bivariate and multivariate linear regression was performed to assess the association of key characteristics with DHL. The results show a high DHL related to COVID-19 in 54.3% of students. Most of the Pakistani students demonstrated ~50% DHL in all dimensions, except of reliability. Multivariate findings showed that gender, sense of coherence and importance of information were found to be significantly associated with DHL. However, a negative association was observed with students’ satisfaction with information. This led to the conclusion that critical operational and navigations skills are essential to achieve COVID-19 DHL and cope with stress, particularly to promote both personal and community health. Focused interventions and strategies should be designed to enhance DHL amongst university students to combat the pandemic.

Subject Areas

eHealth Literacy; digital health literacy; sense of coherence; COVID-19; COVID-HL-Q; Pakistan.

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