Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Online self-diagnosis: Am I having a heart attack or is it just the hiccups?

Date:
July 17, 2012
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Consumers who self-diagnose are more likely to believe they have a serious illness because they focus on their symptoms rather than the likelihood of a particular disease, according to a new study. This has significant implications for public health professionals as well as consumers.

Consumers who self-diagnose are more likely to believe they have a serious illness because they focus on their symptoms rather than the likelihood of a particular disease, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. This has significant implications for public health professionals as well as consumers.

"In today's wired world, self-diagnosis via internet search is very common. Such symptom-matching exercises may lead consumers to overestimate the likelihood of getting a serious disease because they focus on their symptoms while ignoring the very low likelihood that their symptoms are related to any serious illness," write authors Dengfeng Yan and Jaideep Sengupta (both Hong Kong University of Science and Technology).

Consumers often fear the worst when it comes to their own health while maintaining a calm objectivity with regard to others. For example, when someone else suffers from indigestion, we tend to accurately perceive it as indigestion, but experiencing the same symptom might lead us to panic and worry that we're having a heart attack.

The authors asked consumers to imagine that they or someone else were suffering from common symptoms such as cough, fever, runny nose, and headache. They were then asked to assess the likelihood that they or the other person had contracted either H1N1 (swine flu) or regular flu. Consumers were much more accurate when assessing other people's symptoms. Since they are more likely to misdiagnose themselves, consumers may end up taking unnecessary medical action, which is bad for them, and also bad from a societal cost perspective.

"One of the easiest ways to get rid of this bias is to see a real doctor instead of Dr. Google. A real doctor possesses much more knowledge and will take the prevalence of a disease into consideration because she is viewing the patient from a distance. This will prevent symptoms from exerting a disproportionate influence on the diagnosis," the authors conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dengfeng Yan and Jaideep Sengupta. The Influence of Base Rate and Case Information on Health Risk Perceptions: A Unified Model of Self-Positivity and Self-Negativity. Journal of Consumer Research, February 2013

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Online self-diagnosis: Am I having a heart attack or is it just the hiccups?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120717100312.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2012, July 17). Online self-diagnosis: Am I having a heart attack or is it just the hiccups?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120717100312.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Online self-diagnosis: Am I having a heart attack or is it just the hiccups?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120717100312.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins