University of Oulu

Känsäkoski, H.M., Hirvonen, N., Palmgren-Neuvonen, L., Nygård, T. & Huotari, M-L. (2021). Finnish adolescents’ selection and assessment of health information sources. Information Research, 26(1), paper 893. Retrieved from (Archived by the Internet Archive at

Finnish adolescents’ selection and assessment of health information sources

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Author: Känsäkoski, Helena1,2; Hirvonen, Noora1; Palmgren-Neuvonen, Laura3;
Organizations: 1Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Finland
2City of Oulu, Finland
3Faculty of Education, University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: University of Borås, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-06-14


Introduction: It is challenging for young people to determine who or what information sources they can trust in health issues. This study examines adolescents’ understanding of health, health information needs and credible health information sources and discusses the ways some information sources can be regarded as adolescents’ cognitive authorities in health matters.

Methods: Thirty-seven Finnish secondary school students from fourteen to sixteen years were interviewed during a school health education project.

Analysis: The data were transcribed verbatim and analysed qualitatively through open, axial and selective coding. Findings. Two broad categories of young people’s understanding of health and well-being were identified: a narrow disease-oriented view and a wider view including aspects of mental and social well-being. These views were connected with recognised health information needs, preferred health information sources and credibility evaluation.

Conclusions: The interviewed young people found family members and health professionals to be the most credible information sources in health problems. Thus, they can be regarded as adolescents’ cognitive authorities who are likely to influence their opinions. In more general health information needs and in lifestyle issues, the range of the information sources was wider and credibility assessments were dependent on the subject.

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Series: Information research. An international electronic journal
ISSN: 1368-1613
ISSN-E: 1368-1613
ISSN-L: 1368-1613
Volume: 26
Issue: 1
Article number: 893
DOI: 10.47989/irpaper893
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 520 Other social sciences
519 Social and economic geography
3141 Health care science
Funding: This work was funded by the Academy of Finland for the CogAHealth - Cognitive Authorities in Everyday Health Information Environments of Young People-project (grant number 299112).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 299112
Detailed Information: 299112 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © the authors, 2021. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative Works License.