Influencing Factors of Online Health Information Seeking in Selected European Countries

Analysis of Country Specifics




online health information seeking, influencing factors, Europe, cross-country perspective, eHealth literacy


Patients’ participation in healthcare requires comprehensive health knowledge and can benefit from online health information seeking behaviours (O-HISB). The internet is a particularly vital source for seeking health-related information in many regions of the world. Therefore, we take a European cross-country comparative perspective on O-HISB. We aim to compare the importance of personal, health(care)-related, and cognitive determinants of using the internet for health-related purposes in four European countries. We conducted online surveys among the German, Swiss, Dutch, and Austrian public and described patterns of health information seeking online.
The internet seemed to be a widely used source of health information in the four selected European countries. The explanation patterns of personal, health(care)-related, and cognitive factors differ by country and between selecting the internet as a source of health information and the frequency of online use. Using online media appeared to be more common for women and for current health problems. Respondents’ willingness and competencies are essential for online health information seeking. To prevent the increase of social and health-related disparities, there is an urgent need to support underprivileged population groups and increase motivations and eHealth literacy to use the internet for health-related purposes.




How to Cite

Link, E., Baumann, E., Linn, A., Fahr, A., Schulz, P. J., & Abuzahra, M. E. (2021). Influencing Factors of Online Health Information Seeking in Selected European Countries: Analysis of Country Specifics. European Journal of Health Communication, 2(1), 29–55.



Original Research Paper