Exploring Digital Health Use and Opinions of University Students: Field Survey Study

Catégorie : Article dans une revue

Auteur(s) : Ilaria Montagni , Tanguy Cariou , Tiphaine Feuillet , Emmanuel Langlois , Christophe Tzourio

Nom de la revue : JMIR mHealth and uHealth

pp. e65

Année de publication : 2018

Résumé :

BACKGROUND: During university, students face some potentially serious health risks, and their lifestyle can have a direct effect on health and health behaviors later in life. Concurrently, university students are digital natives having easy access to the internet and new technologies. Digital health interventions offer promising new opportunities for health promotion, disease prevention, and care in this specific population. The description of the current use of and opinions on digital health among university students can inform future digital health strategies and interventions within university settings. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this exploratory study was to report on university students' use and opinions regarding information and communication technologies for health and well-being, taking into account sociodemographic and self-rated general and mental health correlates. METHODS:This field survey was conducted from March to April 2017. An informed consent form and a paper questionnaire were given to students aged 18 to 24 years in 4 university campuses in Bordeaux, France. The survey was formulated in 3 sections: (1) sociodemographic characteristics and self-rated general and mental health, (2) information about the use of digital health, and (3) opinions about digital health. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and tests of independence. RESULTS: A total of 59.8% (303/507 females) students completed the questionnaire. Concerning digital health use, 34.9% (174/498) had at least 1 health app mostly for physical activity (49.4%, 86/174) and general health monitoring (41.4%, 72/174,), but only 3.9% (20/507) of students had a wearable device. Almost all (94.8%, 450/476) had searched for Web-based health-related information at least once in the last 12 months. The most sought health-related topics were nutrition (68.1%, 324/476); pain and illnesses (64.5%, 307/476); and stress, anxiety, or depression (51.1%, 243/476). Although Wikipedia (79.7%, 357/448) and general health websites (349/448, 77.9%) were the most consulted sources, students considered institutional or official websites as the most credible sources (309/335, 92.2%). There were significant differences in digital health use by gender, field, and year of study. No statistically significant association was found between digital health use and self-rated general and mental health status. Concerning opinions on digital health, although 94.1% (475/505) of students estimated that today's digital health cannot replace traditional health services and medical consultations, 44.6% (207/464) of students declared that this could be possible in the future, provided that digital health interventions are promoted by institutional or official entities. CONCLUSIONS: University students are largely using the internet for health information seeking, but using less mobile health apps and very few wearable devices. Our data suggest that digital health has the potential for improving health and well-being at the university, especially if digital health interventions take into account students' profiles, interests, and needs.

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