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Clin Psychol Psychother. 2017 Nov;24(6):1322-1330. doi: 10.1002/cpp.2102. Epub 2017 Jun 16.

Cyberchondria: Examining relations with problematic Internet use and metacognitive beliefs.

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Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, USA.
Division of Psychology, School of Applied Sciences, London South Bank University, 103 Borough Road, London, SE10AA.


Cyberchondria refers to the repeated use of the Internet to search for health-related information, which leads to negative consequences. This two-part study provides the first known examination of how cyberchondria relates to (a) problematic Internet use and (b) metacognitive beliefs. Participants were U.S. community adults who reported using the Internet to search for health-related information (Study 1: N = 337, Study 2: N = 260). In Study 1, cyberchondria shared a strong association with problematic Internet use, and that association was unaccounted for by age, gender, current reported medical status, negative affect, or health anxiety. In Study 2, cyberchondria was found to share moderate to strong associations with metacognitive beliefs. The association between cyberchondria and metacognitive beliefs about the uncontrollability of thoughts remained intact after accounting for the Study 1 covariates, as well as anxiety sensitivity and intolerance of uncertainty. Neither anxiety sensitivity nor intolerance of uncertainty shared unique associations with cyberchondria. These results provide a preliminary indication that a metacognitive conceptualization of problematic Internet use may be applicable to cyberchondria.


anxiety sensitivity; cyberchondria; intolerance of uncertainty; metacognition; metacognitive beliefs; problematic Internet use

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