The health related uses of social media among users in Saudi Arabia

Dr. Abdulaziz Al Rukban

National Guard Program    – Riyadh  2011/2012

Background: Social media refer to groups of social networking sites (SNS) that are used by many people to communicate and to share different information. Health-related issues became very popular subjects of discussion on these networks.

Aims & Objectives: To describe the health-related uses of SNS among users in Saudi Arabia and to identify the most trusted sources of health information for them.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted on the SNS, Twitter, among users in Saudi Arabia.

Results: The study included 816 users, almost two-third of them were women. The majority of users (83.1%) were ≤ 34 years of age. More than 60% of users reported following health-related accounts and 81.4% of them benefited from health information seen on SNS. Almost one-third of users discovered wrong health information. The majority of users (86.4%) trust health information only if from trusted sources and 72.1% of them check the information from other sources. Health-care providers were the most trusted sources of health information. Female gender and those with higher level of education were associated with the health-related use of SNS.

Conclusion: The users of SNS in Saudi Arabia are using it for health, and the majority of them supported the use of SNS for health related activities. Any health intervention should consider the age of users as the majority of them are young.

Key words: Social Media; Social Networking Sites; Health Related Issues; Saudi Arabia


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