RESEARCH ARTICLE


Undergraduate Psychology Students’ Perceptions About the Use of ICT for Health Purposes



Rubén Nieto*, Mercè Boixadós1, Eva Aumatell1, Anna Huguet2, Eulàlia Hernández1
1 PSiNET research group, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
2 IWK Health Centre, Halifax, Canada


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© 2014 Nieto et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the PSiNET research group, Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain; Tel: +34-933263538; Fax: +34-933568822; E-mail: rnietol@uoc.edu


Abstract

Objective:

Information and communication technologies (ICT) have great potential for health care. In this study we explore undergraduate psychology students’ perceptions about different specific uses of ICT for health (i.e. online interventions, health information websites, telehealth and online social networks).

A total of 113 students answered an online survey designed to gather their perceptions about the use of these four types of interventions for health purposes.

Results:

Results showed that online interventions and telehealth were assessed as the best ways of using ICT for health, while the worst way was using social networks for health. The most frequently mentioned advantages were related to the fact that ICT can help with access to information and/or treatments, and that they are comfortable. The most frequently mentioned disadvantages were related to the quality of the information (for social networks and health information websites) and the fact that they were considered impersonal (for telehealth and online interventions).

Conclusions:

Students were not very enthusiastic about the use of ICT for health. Education is needed to change these perceptions and increase the likelihood that they will incorporate ICT in their future practice.

Keywords: Anova, health, information and communication technologies, perceptions, psychology students, telehealth.