Measuring Health Information-Seeking Behavior: The Online Self-care Scale

Alessia Bertolazzi, Linda Lombi, Marco Terraneo

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


During the last decades, researchers have shown an increased attention towards the prac-tice of health information seeking online. This interest has been driven by a desire to understand how it influences health beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors among laypersons. Although many tools have been proposed to measure health information seeking, they present some limits. Through an online survey among 783 Italian university students, our study aims at de-veloping a self-report instrument to measure individuals’ online health information-seeking behavior, the Online Self-care Scale (OSS), considering the twofold activity of seeking and employing information (the “Information seeking” and “Self-care practice”). We examined the reliability and construct validity of the OSS’s self-report scale and ex-plored the association between Online Self-Care Scale and gender, socioeconomic status (SES), self-reported health status, and digital health literacy. Our findings show both acceptable discriminant and convergent validities for the OSS. The validity has also been assessed through the known-group validity, namely evaluating if OSS can discriminate between groups of individuals demonstrating different scores on the test. Therefore, the OSS Scale is a valid and reliable instrument to measure the level of involvement of individuals in health information retrieval, allowing researchers to dis-tinguish between a merely information-seeking activity and an application of the infor-mation by the seekers.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)177-195
Numero di pagine19
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2023


  • Online Health Information
  • Scale validation
  • Digital health literacy


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