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Health Soc Work. 2011 Feb;36(1):45-53.

A comprehensive analysis of the quality of online health-related information regarding schizophrenia.

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College of Social Work, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.


Social workers are major mental health providers and, thus, can be key players in guiding consumers and their families to accurate information regarding schizophrenia. The present study, using the WebMedQual scale, is a comprehensive analysis across a one-year period at two different time points of the top for-profit and nonprofit sites that provide information regarding schizophrenia. Results demonstrate that the majority of sites offer comprehensive information and useful features. For-profit sites had higher ratings than nonprofit sites. Likewise, there was somewhat greater inconsistency for nonprofit sites across the two rating periods. The results demonstrate that systematic evaluation of online health information about schizophrenia can contribute to a "gold standard" for Internet health-related information. In addition, the results provide information that social workers can use with consumers and their families to guide them to quality online health information. A brief list of top sites is provided for social workers to give to consumers and families.

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