Social Media and Health

Use of social media platforms and data to disseminate health information and to understand and improve individual and population health behaviors and outcomes.

Valence of Media Coverage About Electronic Cigarettes And Other Tobacco Products From 2014-2017: Evidence From Automated Content Analysis

Robert C. Hornik, PhD
May. 19, 2020

Kwanho Kim, Laura A Gibson, Sharon Williams, Yoonsang Kim, Steven Binns, Sherry L Emery, Robert C Hornik

Abstract [from journal]

Introduction: As media exposure can influence people's opinions and perceptions about vaping and smoking, analyzing the valence of media content about tobacco products (i.e., overall attitude toward tobacco, cigars, electronic cigarettes, etc.) is an important issue. This study advances the field by analyzing a large amount of media content about multiple tobacco products across six different media sources.

Methods: From May 2014 to December 2017, we collected all English-language media items about...

Pregnancy and Health in the Age of the Internet: A Content Analysis of Online "Birth Club" Forums

Apr. 14, 2020

Anna Wexler, Anahita Davoudi, Davy Weissenbacher, Rebekah Choi, Karen O’Connor, Holly Cummings, Graciela Gonzalez-Hernandez

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Although studies report that more than 90% of pregnant women utilize digital sources to supplement their maternal healthcare, little is known about the kinds of information that women seek from their peers during pregnancy. To date, most research has used self-report measures to elucidate how and why women to turn to digital sources during pregnancy. However, given that these measures may differ from actual utilization of online health information, it is important to analyze the online content pregnant women generate.

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Exploring the Effect of Health App Use on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption

Robert C. Hornik, PhD
Apr. 14, 2020

Kwang Gi Kim, Christopher J. Lee, Robert C. Hornik

Abstract [from journal]

People may use multiple health apps at the same time or in close sequence, and the effect of health apps may vary across different socioeconomic groups. However, in the context of healthy eating, studies have focused on the effect of using a single health app. This study aims to test the relationship of using multiple health apps with fruit and vegetable consumption, assessing moderation by education level. Employing longitudinal survey data from South Korean adults, we conducted regression analyses to test the lagged association between use of health

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Exploring Substance Use Tweets of Youth in the United States: Mixed Methods Study

Mar. 26, 2020

Robin C. Stevens, Bridgette M. Brawner, Elissa Kranzler, Salvatore Giorgi, Elizabeth Lazarus, Maramawit Abera, Sarah Huang, Lyle Ungar

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Substance use by youth remains a significant public health concern. Social media provides the opportunity to discuss and display substance use-related beliefs and behaviors, suggesting that the act of posting drug-related content, or viewing posted content, may influence substance use in youth. This aligns with empirically supported theories, which posit that behavior is influenced by perceptions of normative behavior. Nevertheless, few studies have explored the content of posts by youth related to substance use.

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Variability in Language Used on Social Media Prior to Hospital Visits

Mar. 12, 2020

Sharath Chandra Guntuku, H. Andrew Schwartz, Adarsh Kashyap, Jessica S. Gaulton, Daniel C. Stokes, David A. Asch, Lyle H. Ungar, Raina M. Merchant

Abstract [from journal]

Forecasting healthcare utilization has the potential to anticipate care needs, either accelerating needed care or redirecting patients toward care most appropriate to their needs. While prior research has utilized clinical information to forecast readmissions, analyzing digital footprints from social media can inform our understanding of individuals' behaviors, thoughts, and motivations preceding a healthcare visit. We evaluate how language patterns on social media change prior to emergency department (ED) visits and inpatient hospital admissions in

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Promoting Reproducible Research for Characterizing Nonmedical Use of Medications Through Data Annotation: Description of a Twitter Corpus and Guidelines

Feb. 26, 2020

Karen O'Connor, Abeed Sarker, Jeanmarie Perrone, Graciela Gonzalez Hernandez

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Social media data are being increasingly used for population-level health research because it provides near real-time access to large volumes of consumer-generated data. Recently, a number of studies have explored the possibility of using social media data, such as from Twitter, for monitoring prescription medication abuse. However, there is a paucity of annotated data or guidelines for data characterization that discuss how information related to abuse-prone medications is presented on Twitter.

Objective:

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Using Social Media to Track Geographic Variability in Language About Diabetes: Analysis of Diabetes-Related Tweets Across the United States

Jan. 26, 2020

Heather Griffis, David A. Asch, H Andrew Schwartz, Lyle Ungar, Alison M. Buttenheim, Frances K. Barg, Nandita Mitra, Raina M. Merchant

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Social media posts about diabetes could reveal patients' knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs as well as approaches for better targeting of public health messages and care management.

Objective: This study aimed to characterize the language of Twitter users' posts regarding diabetes and describe the correlation of themes with the county-level prevalence of diabetes.

Methods: A retrospective study of diabetes-related tweets identified from a random sample of approximately 37

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Breadth of Media Scanning Leads to Vaping Among Youth and Young Adults: Evidence of Direct and Indirect Pathways from a National Longitudinal Survey

Robert C. Hornik, PhD
Jan. 3, 2020

Jiaying Liu, Kirsten Lochbuehler, Qinghua Yang, Laura A. Gibson, Robert C. Hornik

Abstract [from journal]

Electronic cigarette use among youth and young adults has reached an epidemic proportion of growth. This study examined the direct and indirect effects of the breadth of media scanning about e-cigarette use on subsequent vaping behavior through interpersonal communication and changes in descriptive norm perceptions. We conducted a nationally representative longitudinal phone survey of 13- to 25-year-olds from June 2014 to March 2017, with 11,013 respondents who completed a baseline survey, among which 3,212 completed a follow-up 6 months later. The

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Buprenorphine Initiation in the Emergency Department: a Thematic Content Analysis of a #firesidetox Tweetchat

Jan. 2, 2020

Megan Chenworth, Jeanmarie Perrone, Jennifer S. Love, Howard A. Greller, Abeed Sarker, Peter R. Chai

Abstract [from journal]

Introduction: The height of the opioid epidemic in the USA has led to an increasing call for access to medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, including buprenorphine initiation from the emergency department (ED). However, only a small percentage of emergency physicians feel prepared or have the necessary training to prescribe buprenorphine. Twitter has increasingly been used as a tool for medical education, and there is growing interest in using this forum to actively engage medical providers and the public. This study

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Online Reviews of Specialized Drug Treatment Facilities—Identifying Potential Drivers of High and Low Patient Satisfaction

Nov. 21, 2019

Anish K. Agarwal, Vivien Wong, Arthur M. Pelullo, Sharath Guntuku, Daniel Polsky, David A. Asch, Jonathan Muruako, Raina M. Merchant

Background: Despite the importance of high-quality and patient-centered substance use disorder treatment, there are no standardized ratings of specialized drug treatment facilities and their services. Online platforms offer insights into potential drivers of high and low patient experience.

Objective: We sought to analyze publicly available online review content of specialized drug treatment facilities and identify themes within high and low ratings.

Design:

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Combining Crowd-Sourcing and Automated Content Methods to Improve Estimates of Overall Media Coverage: Theme Mentions in E-cigarette and Other Tobacco Coverage

Nov. 13, 2019

Laura A. Gibson, Leeann Siegel, Elissa Kranzler, Allyson Volinsky, Matthew B. O’Donnell, Sharon Williams, Qinghua Yang, Yoonsang Kim, Steven Binns, Hy Tran, Veronica Maidel Epstein, Timothy Leffel, Michelle Jeong, Jiaying Liu, Stella Lee, Sherry Emery, Robert C. Hornik...

Abstract [from journal]

Exposure to media content can shape public opinions about tobacco. Accurately describing content is a first step to showing such effects. Historically, content analyses have hand-coded tobacco-focused texts from a few media sources which ignored passing mention coverage and social media sources, and could not reliably capture over-time variation. By using a combination of crowd-sourced and automated coding, we labeled the population of all e-cigarette and other tobacco-related (including cigarettes, hookah, cigars, etc.) 'long-form texts' (focused and

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Studying Expressions of Loneliness in Individuals Using Twitter: An Observational Study

Nov. 4, 2019

Sharath Chandra Guntuku, Rachelle Schneider, Arthur Pelullo, Jami Young, Vivien Wong, Lyle Ungar, Daniel Polsky, Kevin Volpp, Raina Merchant

Abstract [from journal]

Objectives: Loneliness is a major public health problem and an estimated 17% of adults aged 18-70 in the USA reported being lonely. We sought to characterise the (online) lives of people who mention the words 'lonely' or 'alone' in their Twitter timeline and correlate their posts with predictors of mental health.

Setting and Design: From approximately 400 million tweets collected from Twitter in Pennsylvania, USA, between 2012 and 2016, we identified users whose Twitter posts contained the words 'lonely' or '

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