Title

Conflicting health information: a critical research need.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Institution/Department

CORE

Journal Title

Health expectations : an international journal of public participation in health care and health policy

MeSH Headings

Conflict (Psychology), Consumer Health Information, Decision Making, Health Literacy, Humans, Mass Media

ISSN

1369-7625

Abstract

Conflicting health information is increasing in amount and visibility, as evidenced most recently by the controversy surrounding the risks and benefits of childhood vaccinations. The mechanisms through which conflicting information affects individuals are poorly understood; thus, we are unprepared to help people process conflicting information when making important health decisions. In this viewpoint article, we describe this problem, summarize insights from the existing literature on the prevalence and effects of conflicting health information, and identify important knowledge gaps. We propose a working definition of conflicting health information and describe a conceptual typology to guide future research in this area. The typology classifies conflicting information according to four fundamental dimensions: the substantive issue under conflict, the number of conflicting sources (multiplicity), the degree of evidence heterogeneity and the degree of temporal inconsistency.

First Page

1173

Last Page

1182

Share

COinS