Increased trust and credibility for health information may reduce risk of depression in children

The more children trust their credible source for health information, the more likely they will experience less severe depressive symptoms, study finds.

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Researchers at Pennsylvania State University showed how trust and credibility play a major role in whether health information can be beneficial for the improvement of depression among children.

According to the new findings in Child: Care, Health and Development, the more children trust their credible source for health information, the more likely they will experience less severe depressive symptoms.

The use of traditional media, such as print and television outlets, was deemed as more trustworthy than online content. However, social networking sites were still perceived with some level of credibility for health information, the findings determined.

“Guided by the information processing theories, this study proposes the health information processing model and uses it to analyse the impact of health information use on self‐management of depressive symptoms among Chinese urban adolescents aged 10–18,” wrote Bu Zhong and Juan Chen, authors of the study, in the journal article.

“A total of 310 urban teens were recruited from elementary, middle and high schools in Changchun in North China. The data collection was part of a project conducted jointly by China’s National Health Commission and the United Nations Children’s Fund.”

The findings unveiled that the use of health information might be of more importance for the intervention of mental health problems in children.

“The findings add new insights to the knowledge of adolescents’ depression management and health decision‐making,” the authors stated in their journal report.

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