The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in mental health issues/problems. This research sought to assess whether cyberchondria during the pandemic resulted in an increase in health anxiety levels. A total of 45 participants from Longwood University completed either survey A, which contained a 6 item cyberchondria measure and the 18 item Short Health Anxiety Inventory (SHAI), or survey B which contained a modified version of the cyberchondria measure and the SHAI. Survey B was modified to explicitly mention COVID-19 in the items. Our results found no difference in health anxiety levels between the two participants and an additional analysis revealed no difference in cyberchondria behaviors between the two groups. Any increase in health anxiety levels may have been mediated by a new increased focus on maintaining a healthy mental state during the COVID-19 health crisis. Health-related information seeking on the internet seems to be only temporary and not long term which could explain why cyberchondria levels were similar between the two groups. The research suggested of our study suggest that the pandemic may not have as much of an effect on cyberchondria and health anxiety levels for our population as once thought. Other psychological areas should be evaluated in an effort to find problematic areas the pandemic has affected and work to aid such areas.
Grisso, Macey, "Cyberchondria and Health Anxiety During the COVID19 Pandemic" (2020). Fall Showcase for Research and Creative Inquiry. 33.