Social Media Use and Health Information Seeking and Sharing among Young Chinese Adults

Qiong Gong, Marc Verboord


By focusing on the differences in media use across four specific traditional media and eight social media outlets in China, the study sets out to investigate who trusts health and fitness-related information on traditional and social media and what influence online engagement with health and fitness. Using the survey method, we classify the eight social media into two types based on their characteristics: whether they are able to offer social support to users easily or not. Ordinary Least Squares regression was applied to predict the perceived media credibility and online engagement with health and fitness. The results show that young adults who are less well educated, who watch television and use social support-oriented platforms Wechat and Qzone with high frequency, and read newspapers and use Baidu Tieba sometimes, are more likely to rate online health and fitness information as credible. Also, being male, better-educated and considering health information on media as credible, as well as using certain media platforms frequently, are associated with frequent engagement with health and fitness. These certain media outlets include magazines and three social support-oriented media: Sina Weibo, Wechat, and Qzone. The implications are discussed, along with limitations of the current study and directions for future research.


Health communication; media use; media credibility; social media; social support; health and fitness; China

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