Do Informational and Emotional Elements Differ between Online Psychological and Physiological Disease Communities in China? A Comparative Study of Depression and Diabetes

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number2167
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number4
Online published15 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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Abstract

Disease-specific online health communities provide a convenient and common platform for patients to share experiences, change information, provide and receive social support. This study aimed to compare differences between online psychological and physiological disease communities in topics, sentiment, participation, and emotional contagion patterns using multiple methods as well as to discuss how to satisfy the users’ different informational and emotional needs. We chose the online depression and diabetes communities on the Baidu Tieba platform as the data source. Topic modeling and theme coding were employed to analyze discussion preferences for various topic categories. Sentiment analysis was used to identify the sentiment polarity of each post and comment. The social network was used to represent the users’ interaction and emotional flows to discover the differences in participation and emotional contagion patterns between psychological and physiological disease communities. The results revealed that people affected by depression focused more on their symptoms and social relationships, while people affected by diabetes were more likely to discuss treatment and self-management behavior. In the depression community, there were obvious interveners spreading positive emotions and more core users in the negative emotional contagion network. In the diabetes community, emotional contagion was less prevalent and core users in positive and negative emotional contagion networks were basically the same. The study reveals insights into the differences between online psychological and physiological disease communities, providing a greater understanding of the users’ informational and emotional needs expressed online. These results are helpful for society to provide actual medical assistance and deploy health interventions based on disease types.

Research Area(s)

  • Chronic disease, Emotional contagion, Online disease community, Sentiment polarity, Social network analysis, Topic mining

Citation Format(s)

Do Informational and Emotional Elements Differ between Online Psychological and Physiological Disease Communities in China? A Comparative Study of Depression and Diabetes. / Yao, Zhizhen; Ni, Zhenni; Zhang, Bin; Du, Jian.

In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 19, No. 4, 2167, 02.2022.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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