Digital Health Literacy and Information-Seeking Behavior among University College Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Cross-Sectional Study from Denmark

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  • Carsten K. Bak
  • Jeanne Krammer
  • Kevin Dadaczynski
  • Okan Orkan
  • Jesper von Seelen
  • Christina Prinds
  • Lene M. Søbjerg
  • Heidi Klakk

The COVID-19 pandemic and the concomitant infodemic have emphasized the importance of digital health literacy (DHL) to global public health research and practice. The aim of this study was to examine information-seeking behavior, the ability to find, understand and deal with health information among university college students in Denmark and/in addition we wanted to examine the impact of their close social network on students’ ability to find and understand health information. This research was carried out as part of the COVID-HL university student survey by using a uniform questionnaire consisting of elaborated scales. Data were collected from a cross-sectional survey conducted at University College South during 4 weeks in April and May 2020. To capture DHL, four subscales of the DHL instrument were adapted to the pandemic context. A total of 59.9% of the students have sufficient DHL—most students find it rather easy to find information and are satisfied with the information they find on the internet. However, some (28.1%) students find it difficult to judge the quality and reliability of the information. 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 often use social media for health information. Students with sufficient DHL more often share health information and less often ask for support in their network.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3676
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number6
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 19.03.2022

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the UC SYD Denmark and received no external funding.

    Research areas

  • COVID-19, Denmark, Digital health literacy, Information seeking, Social network, University college students
  • Health sciences