Digital Health Literacy About COVID-19 as a Factor Mediating the Association Between the Importance of Online Information Search and Subjective Well-Being Among University Students in Vietnam

Linh Hoang Thuy Nguyen, Man Thi Hue Vo, Lien Thi Mai Tran, Kevin Dadaczynski, Orkan Okan, Linda Murray, Thang Van Vo
2021 Frontiers in Digital Health  
Digital health literacy (DHL) has recently been proposed as a means of enabling healthy decisions for protective behavior, preventive measures, and adherence with COVID-19 policies and recommendations especially in the era of the "infodemic". This study aimed to (1) identify COVID-19 related DHL and its association with online information seeking; (2) to elucidate COVID-19 related DHL as a mediator predictor between the importance of online information search and its association with subjective
more » ... well-being among Vietnamese university students.Methods: A cross-sectional web-based survey was used to elicit the responses of Vietnamese students over 2 consecutive weeks (from April 25 to May 9, 2020, n = 1,003, 70.1% female students, mean age 21.4 ± 3.1). The online survey questionnaire collected data on the sociodemographic characteristics of participants, DHL about COVID-19, information seeking behavior, and subjective well-being. Mediation analysis was conducted using the importance of searching COVID-19 related information as independent variables, subjective well-being as a dependent variable, and DHL as a mediator variable.Results: Among 1,003 students, the mean (SD) of DHL related to COVID-19 was 2.87 ± 0.32. In the survey, 87.2% of the students reported sufficient well-being, while almost 13% reported low or very low well-being. The findings also indicated that search engines were the most popular platform for information seeking by Vietnamese students (95.3%) and 92.8% of participants had searched for information related to the current spread of COVID-19. Not searching for hygiene regulation as part of infection control and an average level of information satisfaction were associated with limited DHL (p < 0.05). The importance of online information searching related to COVID-19 increased the subjective well-being of students significantly and limited DHL (p < 0.05). DHL was found to mediate the relationship between the importance of online information searching and the subjective well-being of students.Conclusion: The finding provides insight into DHL about COVID-19 among university students, and their ability to find, understand, appraise, and use online health related information during lockdown throughout the first COVID-19 pandemic wave. DHL should be highlighted as a mediating factor that enhances the positive effect of the importance of information seeking on psychological well-being. However, further studies are needed to better define the mediating role of DHL across other factors.
doi:10.3389/fdgth.2021.739476 pmid:34713205 pmcid:PMC8522001 fatcat:hxseuwkk2rbonhlyplrzjtst6q