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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

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Using the Internet to access health-related information: results from a nationally representative sample of New Zealand secondary school students

Jennifer Utter
  • Corresponding author
  • School of Population Health, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, 1142 Auckland, New Zealand
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/ Mathijs Lucassen
  • Open University, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
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/ Simon Denny
  • University of Auckland, Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health, Private Bag 92019 Auckland, New Zealand
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/ Terry Fleming
  • University of Auckland, Paediatrics: Child and Youth Health, Private Bag 92019 Auckland, New Zealand
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/ Roshini Peiris-John / Terryann Clark
Published Online: 2017-11-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0096



To determine if secondary school students in New Zealand who report greater health concerns (e.g. significant depressive symptoms) are more likely to use the Internet to access health-related information.


A nationally representative health and wellbeing survey was undertaken in 2012 (n = 8500). Multiple regression models were used to examine the associations between students’ use of the Internet to access health-related information and selected outcomes or indicators.


Over 90% of students used the Internet on a daily basis, with 15.4% of students reporting that they had used the Internet to access health-related information. Students experiencing household poverty were more likely to report not using the Internet daily (17.4% compared to 4.2%). Odds ratios (ORs) for accessing the Internet for this sort of information were highest for students who reported self-harm [OR 2.7, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.3–3.3], disordered eating (OR 2.7, 95% CI 2.4–3.2), or a suicide attempt (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.9–3.3).


Our findings suggest that Internet-based health interventions may be a viable way to reach young people with high health needs, but consideration needs to be given to those with limited Internet access.

Keywords: adolescent; health risk behavior; Internet; mental health


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About the article

Received: 2017-05-31

Accepted: 2017-06-29

Published Online: 2017-11-23

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170096, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0096.

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