INTRODUCTION: Cyberchondria is a term used to assess the anxiety-inducing effects of online health-related searches. Most of mothers were found to have obtained information from the internet, but the influence of the internet on maternal anxiety has not been sufficiently investigated. Therefore, our aim in the present study was to evaluate the relationship between cyberchondria experienced by mothers of children with food allergies and sociodemographic factors.
METHODS: The study was carried out with mothers whose children had been diagnosed with a food allergy and mothers of healthy children. The Cyberchondria Severity Scale was used to evaluate anxiety of the mothers. In addition, the sociodemographic status of the participants was evaluated with a questionnaire.
RESULTS: The cyberchondria severity scores of 60 mothers with food-allergic children and 60 mothers with healthy children were compared. The most common diagnosis was atopic eczema (51.8%). The cyberchondria severity scores of mothers with food-allergic children (59±23) were significantly higher than those for the healthy group (50±13) (p<0.001). The mean cyberchondria severity scores were significantly higher in working mothers (p=0.01), families whose monthly income was the minimum wage and above (p=0.02), and mothers who searched on the internet to choose a physician (p=0.03).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Psychological problems in mothers of children with food allergies that may be caused by cyberchondria can often be overlooked in outpatient settings. To detect these problems, it is necessary to perform screening tests and to provide support to these mothers in a timely manner.