• 18May

    Exploring students’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, health information: a qualitative study

    The objective of this study, published in Wiley Online Library, was to explore high school students’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, concepts relevant to assessing health information and claims.

    Three themes emerged as follows: (i) Variability in sources of health information and claims, and general understanding of their creation and accuracy of content, (ii) The use of substitute indicators to assess health information and claims and make judgements about their trustworthiness, (iii) Uncertainty about, and literal interpretation of, the language of health claims.

    Despite general scepticism of health claims and admitted uncertainty of research terminology, many students were generally convinced. Students had poor understanding about how health claims are generated and tended to rely on substitute indicators, such as endorsements, when evaluating the believability of claims.

    The study found that school students’ lack of awareness of basic health research processes and methods of assessing the accuracy of health information and claims makes them vulnerable to distorted and misleading health information. This restricts their ability to make informed health decisions – a skill that increases in importance as they become adults.


    Cusack L, Desha LN, Del Mar CB, Hoffmann TC.
    A qualitative study exploring high school students’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, health information and claims.
    Health Expect. 2017;00:19. https://doi.org/10.1111/hex.12562