The aspect of time in online health information behaviour

a longitudinal extensive analysis of the Suomi24 discussion forum




health information behavior, health, social media, time, temporality


Temporal structures and rhythmicity are universal phenomena and affect all aspects of life, including dynamic processes like health and well-being that change over time. Health related issues and threats trigger health information behaviour, a majority of which happens online and thus leaves digital traces behind. This study analyses the temporal variations and rhythmicity of health information behaviour through the action of online posting in a large Finnish discussion forum, Suomi24. The findings in this study show that health information behaviour follow clear and robust rhythmicity on both a seasonal and daily level. This endorses the notion that well-being, health and illness are dynamic processes that change with time and can help provide a more holistic picture of health and well-being, including aspects that fall outside professional healthcare settings. Studying when health information behaviour happens can thus have wide-ranging consequences.


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Tana, J., Eirola, E., & Eriksson-Backa, K. (2019). The aspect of time in online health information behaviour: a longitudinal extensive analysis of the Suomi24 discussion forum. Informaatiotutkimus, 38(2), 7–31.