Who is Susceptible to Online Health Misinformation?

Health misinformation on social media threatens public health. One question that could lend insight into how and through whom misinformation spreads is whether certain people are susceptible to many types of health misinformation, regardless of the health topic at hand.

This study provided an initial answer to this question and also tested four hypotheses concerning the psychosocial attributes of people who are susceptible to health misinformation: (1) deficits in knowledge or skill, (2) preexisting attitudes, (3) trust in health care and/or science, and (4) cognitive miserliness.

The conlcusion of the authors is that a person who is susceptible to online misinformation about one health topic may be susceptible to many types of health misinformation. Individuals who were more susceptible to health misinformation had less education and health literacy, less health care trust, and more positive attitudes toward alternative medicine.

Last modified: March 7, 2021

Language: English