Volume 11, Issue 2 (February 2019)

ISSN Print: 1949-4998   ISSN Online: 1949-5005

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.86  Citations  

Determinants of Youth Engagement with Health Information on Social Media Platforms in United Arab Emirates

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DOI: 10.4236/health.2019.112022    748 Downloads   1,208 Views  


Since most social media platforms are accessible anytime and anywhere where Internet connections and smartphones are available, the invisibility of the reader raises questions about accuracy, appropriateness and comprehensibility of social media communication. This purposive sampling study of 120 participants aged 18 - 35 year in UAE was conducted between September and December 2017, and explored commonly used social media platforms, frequency of use of social media for accessing health related information, and approaches for assessing the trustworthiness of health information. Results indicate that Whats App (95%), Instagram (87%) and Youtube (82%) were the most commonly used social media platforms among respondents. Majority of respondents (81%) indicated that they regularly access social media to get health-associated information. About 55% of respondents with non-chronic health status relied on unsolicited messages to obtain health-related information. Doctors’ health blogs (21%) and social media sites of international healthcare organizations (20%) constitute the most trusted source of health information among respondents, with UAE government health agencies’ social media accounts trusted by 15% of respondents. Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hypertension were the most commonly searched topics on social media (29%), followed by nutrition (20%) and skin care (16%). Majority of respondents (41%) rely on reliability of Google search results, 22% check for health information only from “reliable” social media sites, while 8% utilize “logic” to ascertain reliability of health information. Utilizing popular social media platforms for posting reader-friendly health information will achieve high coverage. Improving youth digital literacy will facilitate easier access to trustworthy information on the internet.

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Awofeso, N. , Gaber, Y. and Bamidele, M. (2019) Determinants of Youth Engagement with Health Information on Social Media Platforms in United Arab Emirates. Health, 11, 249-262. doi: 10.4236/health.2019.112022.

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