Online Symptom List May Affect Self-Diagnosis of Diseases

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Although most of us are not clinical hypochondria patients, we do make an effort to read disease symptoms online. A team from the Association for Psychological Science (APS) found that people use the web to decide whether or not they need a doctor.

For Study 2 Diseases, a fictitious thyroid cancer and an actual disease called meningioma were used. The participants were divided into 2 groups, one which exhibited the general effects of the disease and the second which exhibited specific symptoms of the same.

The results showed that the way the adverse events are presented seems to make a difference. If there were many symptoms listed consecutively and relevant to the person in question, the perceived risk was apparently higher.

“With certain types of disease, people tend to see a doctor at the most advanced stage. People also go to doctors to ask them about very rare diseases all the time, ”he said. Virginia Kwan, psychologist at Arizona State University.

The study’s revelations could help raise public health awareness. While young college students believe they cannot be affected by any disease, the study shows that the disorders do not discriminate and anyone can fall prey to them. However, there should be no panic in the scene, just a general understanding of our state of health.

In order to avoid overreactions, rare symptoms should be placed first in the assortment. Additionally, categorizing symptoms as mild and severe could help people better understand their condition. This could eventually lead to timely therapeutic action for all individuals.

The report is published in the journal Psychological Science.


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