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Quality of information sources about mental disorders: a comparison of Wikipedia with centrally controlled web and printed sources

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2011

N. J. Reavley*
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
A. J. Mackinnon
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
A. J. Morgan
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
M. Alvarez-Jimenez
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
S. E. Hetrick
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
E. Killackey
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
B. Nelson
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
R. Purcell
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
M. B. H. Yap
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
A. F. Jorm
Affiliation:
Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia
*
*Address for correspondence: Dr N. J. Reavley, Orygen Youth Health Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, University of Melbourne, Locked Bag 10, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia. (Email: nreavley@unimelb.edu.au)

Abstract

Background

Although mental health information on the internet is often of poor quality, relatively little is known about the quality of websites, such as Wikipedia, that involve participatory information sharing. The aim of this paper was to explore the quality of user-contributed mental health-related information on Wikipedia and compare this with centrally controlled information sources.

Method

Content on 10 mental health-related topics was extracted from 14 frequently accessed websites (including Wikipedia) providing information about depression and schizophrenia, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and a psychiatry textbook. The content was rated by experts according to the following criteria: accuracy, up-to-dateness, breadth of coverage, referencing and readability.

Results

Ratings varied significantly between resources according to topic. Across all topics, Wikipedia was the most highly rated in all domains except readability.

Conclusions

The quality of information on depression and schizophrenia on Wikipedia is generally as good as, or better than, that provided by centrally controlled websites, Encyclopaedia Britannica and a psychiatry textbook.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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