From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Understanding online engagement with health

A recent report states that 73% of people in the UK are internet users and of these, 71% use the internet for health information. Sources of health-related content online are many and diverse, and include official sources of medical information as well as lay accounts of health and illness. Content ranges from preventative medicine and healthy lifestyle information to information for patients on chronic and acute disease management. Appropriating, interpreting and commenting on this information has become easier and more common with the proliferation of social media technologies and the increasing number of users who use mobile and multiple devices to access the internet. As such, the internet is a dynamic environment, hosting a wide-range of health information which can be accessed and appropriated by a vast number of users at any time. In this PhD study Gillian Fergie explores young adults perceptions and experiences of engaging with health information on the internet, social media strategies for developing users’ engagment, and online constructions of health and illness, around two health issues, namely diabetes and mental health.



Fergie G, Hunt K, Hilton S. What young people want from health-related online resources: a focus group study. Journal of Youth Studies 2013;16:579-596

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