Sources and preferences of health information among female secondary school students at Al-Eskan district, in Makkah AL-Mokarramah

Dr. Nouf Ajlan Al-Qurashi

Joint Program of Family Medicine Makkah  – 2013

Background: 

To improve young people’s access to health resources, new strategies that are attractive to the youth are beginning to emerge and they make use of the power, creativity and enthusiasm of adolescents.

Objectives:

To identify sources of health information, evaluate the utilization of social media and Internet to obtain health information and determine preference factors associated withthe source of health information among female secondary school students at Al-Eskan district, in Makkah Al-Mokarramah, July, 2013.

Subjects and Methods:

This study was a cross- sectional study included a representative sample of female secondary school students at AL-Eskan district, Makkah Al-Mokarramah. The sample was distributed over the three schools in the district proportional to the number of students in each school (proportional allocation). A self-administered questionnaire, designed by the researcher after reviewing relevant literature was utilized for data collection. It includes demographic data, source of health information, evaluation of the quality of health information and difficulties in obtaining health information from the internet.

Results:

The study included 186 students with a response rate o 90.2%. The age of the students ranged between 15 and 20 years with a mean of 16.95 and SD of 1.26. Majority of them (91.9%) were Saudis and singles (97.3%). Internet was the most reported source for getting health information (90.3%), followed by Family and/or friends (56.5%). Almost one  third of them reported health care staff (33.9%) as a source of information. Regarding the trustful source of health information reported by the female students, health care staff ranked first (39.8%), followed by the Internet (29%). Regarding the most accessible source for getting health information reported by the female students, the Internet ranked first (77.5%), followed by family/friends (11.8%). A considerable percentage of female students had difficulties in searching for health information through the internet. Most of the students either strongly agreed (16.7%) or agreed (66.1%) that internet health information fulfilled their needs and 64% of them claimed that internet health instruction or health information apparently helped them.

Conclusion:

The Internet is the main source of health-related information for the female secondary school students in AL-Eskan district, Makkah Al-Mokarramah. They trust the information and a considerable percentage of them claimed that internet health instruction or health information apparently helped them and had an effect on them.

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