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Comunicar Journal 64: Children, youth and media in the era of smart devices: Risks, threats and opportunities (Vol. 28 - 2020)

eHealth literacy of late adolescents: Credibility and quality of health information through smartphones in India


Vaageessan Masilamani

Arulchelvan Sriram

Ann-Maria Rozario


The introduction of smartphones has revolutionized how late adolescents (aged 18-21 years) access and use the internet. Vast troves of health information are today just a tap or swipe away, with smartphones and internet connectivity becoming increasingly accessible. The need for eHealth literacy among late adolescents is now gaining importance as it ensures an effective use of health information. This study conducted a survey among 427 late adolescents in order to evaluate their eHealth literacy levels; their perceptions of the quality of online health information; their level of trust and credibility in online health and checked if acquiring health information through the online medium led to a change in their behavior intention. The results showed that most of the late adolescents preferred viewing multiple websites for their health information needs. Health information in the form of text and images were preferred over video content; and most preferred accessing online health information in their native language. Cancer and obesity are the common health issues of interest to both genders. Mobile applications (apps) were the least preferred mode of accessing heath information despite the high usage of smartphones. eHealth literacy and credibility positively predicted behavior intention while quality of health information did not predict behavior intention.


Health Information, eHealth Literacy, mobile health, adolescents, mHealth, credibility, quality, online health information

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