Murray State Theses and Dissertations


Self-diagnosis has become a concern for medical and mental health diagnoses. More people are engaging in self-diagnosis based on information that was obtained from the internet, including websites, social media platforms, and online forums. There are several reasons one may choose to self-diagnose. Some common reasons outlined in research are the desire to fit in with others who share similar characteristics and having a label to explain one’s experiences. Past research has shown that people frequently search for mental health information online, but they may not understand or may misinterpret the information that is found. This study aimed to address one reason for the increase in self-diagnosis by examining the relationship between social media use and one’s knowledge about a popular (autism spectrum disorder [ASD]) and less popular disorder (histrionic personality disorder [HPD]). Data from 47 participants at an undergraduate university were examined. Results indicated that there was a significant difference in the total knowledge about ASD and HPD as well as between incorrect items endorsed on the ASD DSM criteria subscale and ASD associated features subscale. Results also indicated that there were significant correlations between the following: total screentime and total incorrect items. There was not a significant difference between those who believed they have autism and those who did not believe they have autism on total autism knowledge. Additionally, there were not significant correlations on the following: total SMUIS score and total incorrect items, total SMUIS score and total ASD knowledge, and total screentime and total ASD knowledge.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

self-diagnosis, autism, social media, information seeking

Committee Chair

Laura Liljequist

Committee Member

D. Gage Jordan

Committee Member

Sean Rife

Committee Member

Jennifer N. Gaylord

Document Type