Original Research

Effect of social trust on health information exchange in social network sites

Peter L. Mkhize
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 25, No 1 | a1539 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v25i1.1539 | © 2023 Peter L. Mkhize | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 March 2022 | Published: 18 January 2023

About the author(s)

Peter L. Mkhize, Department of Information Systems, Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: The purpose of this study is to conduct a systematic literature review of the role of social trust in health information exchange on social network sites (SNSs). In the light of the confusion and panic about health information leading to and during the worldwide lockdown, in an attempt to control the spread and symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Although the sharing of health information on SNS did not start during the COVID-19 lockdown, the concerns about health information interchange were highlighted during the lockdown.

Objectives: This study investigates the nature of the association between health information exchange and social trust and how social trust has influenced health information exchange from 2005 to 2021.

Method: In line with the purpose of the study, the researcher applied a systematic literature review to review conference articles, accredited journal articles and book chapters. The review process involved a rigorous procedure towards a definition of review protocol, extraction of articles, formulation of selection criteria and the review itself.

Results: This study reveals a transactional interplay between the constructs of social trust (benevolence, integrity and competence) and social network site user roles (information seeker, information passer and information giver).

Conclusion: In summary, the researcher argues that public health officials would benefit from setting up an SNS that proactively provides health information. The health information exchange experience should be designed in a way that takes into account how social trust can be used to moderate health information exchange in the SNS by different types.


health information; social trust; benevolence; integrity; competence; social network sites


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