Forecasting the suitability of online mental health information for effective self-care developing machine learning classifiers using natural language features

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

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number10048
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number19
Online published24 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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Abstract

Background: Online mental health information represents important resources for people living with mental health issues. Suitability of mental health information for effective self-care remains understudied, despite the increasing needs for more actionable mental health resources, especially among young people. Objective: We aimed to develop Bayesian machine learning classifiers as data-based decision aids for the assessment of the actionability of credible mental health information for people with mental health issues and diseases. Methods: We collected and classified creditable online health information on mental health issues into generic mental health (GEN) information and patient-specific (PAS) mental health information. GEN and PAS were both patient-oriented health resources developed by health authorities of mental health and public health promotion. GENs were non-classified online health information without indication of targeted readerships; PASs were developed purposefully for specific populations (young, elderly people, pregnant women, and men) as indicated by their website labels. To ensure the generalisability of our model, we chose to develop a sparse Bayesian machine learning classifier using Relevance Vector Machine (RVM). Results: Using optimisation and normalisation techniques, we developed a best-performing classifier through joint optimisation of natural language features and min-max normalisation of feature frequencies. The AUC (0.957), sensitivity (0.900), and specificity (0.953) of the best model were statistically higher (p < 0.05) than other models using parallel optimisation of structural and semantic features with or without feature normalisation. We subsequently evaluated the diagnostic utility of our model in the clinic by comparing its positive (LR+) and negative likelihood ratios (LR−) and 95% confidence intervals (95% C.I.) as we adjusted the probability thresholds with the range of 0.1 and 0.9. We found that the best pair of LR+ (18.031, 95% C.I.: 10.992, 29.577) and LR− (0.100, 95% C.I.: 0.068, 0.148) was found when the probability threshold was set to 0.45 associated with a sensitivity of 0.905 (95%: 0.867, 0.942) and specificity of 0.950 (95% CI: 0.925, 0.975). These statistical properties of our model suggested its applicability in the clinic. Conclusion: Our study found that PAS had significant advantage over GEN mental health information regarding information actionability, engagement, and suitability for specific populations with distinct mental health issues. GEN is more suitable for general mental health information acquisition, whereas PAS can effectively engage patients and provide more effective and needed self-care support. The Bayesian machine learning classifier developed provided automatic tools to support decision making in the clinic to identify more actionable resources, effective to support self-care among different populations.

Research Area(s)

  • Information actionability, Machine learning, Mental health, Mental self-care support

Citation Format(s)

Forecasting the suitability of online mental health information for effective self-care developing machine learning classifiers using natural language features. / Ji, Meng; Xie, Wenxiu; Huang, Riliu; Qian, Xiaobo.

In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 18, No. 19, 10048, 10.2021.

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

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