Facing the growing COVID-19 infodemic: Digital health literacy and information-seeking behaviour of university students in Slovenia

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


  • Mitja Vrdelja
  • Sanja Vrbovšek
  • Vito Klopčič
  • Kevin Dadaczynski
  • Orkan Okan

The entire world is faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, which is also accompanied by an infodemic. This refers to the rapid spread of (accurate and false) information, mainly through internet usage increasing. Digital health literacy (DHL) is therefore important for addressing challenges related to online health information and services, as well as for navigation through the complex information landscape with huge amounts of different (and conflicting) information about COVID-19. The aim of this study is to examine the level of DHL in relation to COVID-19 in Slovenian university students and to determine online information-seeking behaviour in order to plan and prepare effective communication interventions for this sub-population. A cross-sectional survey, administered by an online questionnaire, was conducted to collect data on DHL. A total of 3621 students participated, of whom 70% were female and the average age was 22.65 years (SD = 4.65). Bivariate analyses were performed to assess the association of key characteristics with DHL. Overall, the results show that the level of DHL among students is sufficient. Most difficulties were reported in assessing the reliability of information (n = 1484, 49.3%). Approximately one third of the students (n = 847, 27.9%) reported having problems in finding information of their interest, and somewhat more (n = 900, 29.6%) reported difficulties in making a selection among all the information found. Students with a sufficient level of DHL are more likely to seek information through search engines and websites of official institutions, while students with a limited level of DHL more frequently reported using social media for health information searches. It is necessary to establish interventions for a systematic lift of the DHL and health literacy (HL) of all population groups.

ZeitschriftInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Anzahl der Seiten16
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 12.08.2021