Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol 2021; 71(06): 243-255
DOI: 10.1055/a-1348-8059
CME-Fortbildung

Cyberchondrie – ein neues Verhaltenssyndrom?

Cyberchondria – A New Behavioral Syndrome?
Astrid Müller
,
Eva Baumann
,
Marie-Luise Dierks

Eine aktive Online-Suche nach gesundheitsbezogenen Themen ist für viele Menschen nützlich, birgt allerdings auch Risiken. So kann eine extensive gesundheitsbezogene Online-Recherche oder übertriebenes digitales Self-Tracking in Verbindung mit erhöhter Krankheitsangst die Entwicklung eines Verhaltenssyndroms begünstigen, das als „Cyberchondrie“ bezeichnet wird.

Abstract

Investigation of cyberchondria is still in its infancy. Preliminary research suggests that cyberchondria is likely to represent a distinct behavioral syndrome which is closely associated with health anxiety/hypochondria and extensive online searching for health information and/or digital self-tracking. The internet is characterized by anonymous, readily, convenient space-time-independent accessibility and availability of an almost unmanageable amount of information that may increase the reassurance-seeking safety behavior of individuals with heightened health anxiety. Cyberchondria also appears to be related to low self-esteem, anxiety sensitivity, intolerance of uncertainty, compulsivity and metacognitive beliefs. At present, it is unclear of whether individuals with cyberchondria suffer from extensive health-related online searching behavior only or also from other forms of internet use disorders. The link between cyberchondria and e-health literacy, defined as perceived skills at finding, evaluating, and applying online health information to health problems, is poorly recognized. At present, there are no standardized therapeutic interventions for cyberchondria available. Treatment should address the maladaptive health- or illness-related assumptions and beliefs by using existing, well established approaches for hypochondria. Furthermore, it should target the problematic internet use and enable individuals with cyberchondria to reflect their subjective e-health literacy and promote a functional use of health resources from the internet.



Publication History

Publication Date:
08 June 2021 (online)

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