Toward an Understanding of University Students’ Information Behavior and Challenges When Experiencing Mental Health Symptoms


  • Chi Young Oh Chicago State University
  • Rachel Kornfield Northwestern University
  • Emily Lattie Northwestern University
  • David Mohr Northwestern University
  • Madhu Reddy University of California, Irvine



Information needs, Mental health, Information seeking, Information behavior


This poster reports the findings from an analysis of an online survey of 224 university students (undergraduate or graduate) who experienced common mental health symptoms such as stress, anxiety, or depression. The survey questions addressed respondents’ basic demographics and mental health conditions (using the PHQ-4 questionnaire) and explored their information needs, help-seeking behavior, information-seeking behavior, and information-seeking satisfaction when experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression symptoms. While “Information on the Internet” was the most commonly used source of information for their mental health-related information seeking, “Information on the Internet” was not the most satisfactory source of information in terms of helping them meet their information needs. Further analysis of the relationships between respondents’ mental health conditions, demographics, and mental health-related information behavior (MHIB) indicates what factors shape university students’ MHIB and what challenges they may face in their MHIB. Based on the findings and analyses, we aim to provide insights for researchers and practitioners into designing technology, programs, and services to help with university students’ mental health-related information seeking and well-being.






Works in Progress Posters