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Use of Twitter to monitor attitudes toward depression and schizophrenia: an exploratory study.

Reavley NJ, Pilkington PD - PeerJ (2014)

Bottom Line: Results and Discussion.The study supports the use of analysis of Twitter content to unobtrusively measure attitudes towards mental illness, both supportive and stigmatising.The results of the study may be useful in assisting mental health promotion and advocacy organisations to provide information about resources and support, raise awareness and counter common stigmatising attitudes.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne , Victoria , Australia.

ABSTRACT
Introduction. The paper reports on an exploratory study of the usefulness of Twitter for unobtrusive assessment of stigmatizing attitudes in the community. Materials and Methods. Tweets with the hashtags #depression or #schizophrenia posted on Twitter during a 7-day period were collected. Tweets were categorised based on their content and user information and also on the extent to which they indicated a stigmatising attitude towards depression or schizophrenia (stigmatising, personal experience of stigma, supportive, neutral, or anti-stigma). Tweets that indicated stigmatising attitudes or personal experiences of stigma were further grouped into the following subthemes: social distance, dangerousness, snap out of it, personal weakness, inaccurate beliefs, mocking or trivializing, and self-stigma. Results and Discussion. Tweets on depression mostly related to resources for consumers (34%), or advertised services or products for individuals with depression (20%). The majority of schizophrenia tweets aimed to increase awareness of schizophrenia (29%) or reported on research findings (22%). Tweets on depression were largely supportive (65%) or neutral (27%). A number of tweets were specifically anti-stigma (7%). Less than 1% of tweets reflected stigmatising attitudes (0.7%) or personal experience of stigma (0.1%). More than one third of the tweets which reflected stigmatising attitudes were mocking or trivialising towards individuals with depression (37%). The attitude that individuals with depression should "snap out of it" was evident in 30% of the stigmatising tweets. The majority of tweets relating to schizophrenia were categorised as supportive (42%) or neutral (43%). Almost 10% of tweets were explicitly anti-stigma. The percentage of tweets showing stigmatising attitudes was 5%, while less than 1% of tweets described personal experiences of stigmatising attitudes towards individuals with schizophrenia. Of the tweets that indicated stigmatising attitudes, most reflected inaccurate beliefs about schizophrenia being multiple personality disorder (52%) or mocked or trivialised individuals with schizophrenia (33%). Conclusions. The study supports the use of analysis of Twitter content to unobtrusively measure attitudes towards mental illness, both supportive and stigmatising. The results of the study may be useful in assisting mental health promotion and advocacy organisations to provide information about resources and support, raise awareness and counter common stigmatising attitudes.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Content of tweets by mental illness.
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fig-1: Content of tweets by mental illness.

Mentions: The content of the tweets by mental illness is presented in Fig. 1.


Use of Twitter to monitor attitudes toward depression and schizophrenia: an exploratory study.

Reavley NJ, Pilkington PD - PeerJ (2014)

Content of tweets by mental illness.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4217192&req=5

fig-1: Content of tweets by mental illness.
Mentions: The content of the tweets by mental illness is presented in Fig. 1.

Bottom Line: Results and Discussion.The study supports the use of analysis of Twitter content to unobtrusively measure attitudes towards mental illness, both supportive and stigmatising.The results of the study may be useful in assisting mental health promotion and advocacy organisations to provide information about resources and support, raise awareness and counter common stigmatising attitudes.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne , Victoria , Australia.

ABSTRACT
Introduction. The paper reports on an exploratory study of the usefulness of Twitter for unobtrusive assessment of stigmatizing attitudes in the community. Materials and Methods. Tweets with the hashtags #depression or #schizophrenia posted on Twitter during a 7-day period were collected. Tweets were categorised based on their content and user information and also on the extent to which they indicated a stigmatising attitude towards depression or schizophrenia (stigmatising, personal experience of stigma, supportive, neutral, or anti-stigma). Tweets that indicated stigmatising attitudes or personal experiences of stigma were further grouped into the following subthemes: social distance, dangerousness, snap out of it, personal weakness, inaccurate beliefs, mocking or trivializing, and self-stigma. Results and Discussion. Tweets on depression mostly related to resources for consumers (34%), or advertised services or products for individuals with depression (20%). The majority of schizophrenia tweets aimed to increase awareness of schizophrenia (29%) or reported on research findings (22%). Tweets on depression were largely supportive (65%) or neutral (27%). A number of tweets were specifically anti-stigma (7%). Less than 1% of tweets reflected stigmatising attitudes (0.7%) or personal experience of stigma (0.1%). More than one third of the tweets which reflected stigmatising attitudes were mocking or trivialising towards individuals with depression (37%). The attitude that individuals with depression should "snap out of it" was evident in 30% of the stigmatising tweets. The majority of tweets relating to schizophrenia were categorised as supportive (42%) or neutral (43%). Almost 10% of tweets were explicitly anti-stigma. The percentage of tweets showing stigmatising attitudes was 5%, while less than 1% of tweets described personal experiences of stigmatising attitudes towards individuals with schizophrenia. Of the tweets that indicated stigmatising attitudes, most reflected inaccurate beliefs about schizophrenia being multiple personality disorder (52%) or mocked or trivialised individuals with schizophrenia (33%). Conclusions. The study supports the use of analysis of Twitter content to unobtrusively measure attitudes towards mental illness, both supportive and stigmatising. The results of the study may be useful in assisting mental health promotion and advocacy organisations to provide information about resources and support, raise awareness and counter common stigmatising attitudes.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus