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

Nicola J Reavley, Andrew James Mackinnon, Amy J Morgan, Mario Alvarez-Jimenez, Sarah Elisabeth Hetrick, Eoin Killackey, Barnaby Nelson, Rosemary Purcell, Marie Bee Hui Yap, Anthony F Jorm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1753 - 1762
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Cite this