Awareness, access, and use of internet self-help websites for depression by university students

01/20/2017

Culjak G, Kowalenko N, Tennant C. (2016). Awareness, access, and use of internet self-help websites for depression by university students. JMIR Mental Health. 3(4). PMCID: PMC5104907

To evaluate the potential for self-help websites to reach depressed young adults, the authors conducted a prospective study of Australian university students to understand their internet use and accessing of self-help websites. The authors administered assessments at three time points, each one month apart. Researchers recruited 2970 participants. Most participants reported having constant internet access (77.26%), spending many hours on the internet for personal use, and accessing the internet for entertainment (70%). Twelve percent of participants reported using the internet for health and well-being and 10.3% had visited a self-help website for emotional health. The number of participants who visited self-help websites for emotional health increased over the course of the study. Most students consider the credibility of self-help websites at least sometimes and most students felt that the user-friendliness, content, and interactivity of a self-help website is very important.