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Using Facebook and Reddit to code support group member posts: What we can learn about the needs of patients with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: April Law

Many patients with chronic illnesses feel that they lack resources when it comes to finding knowledgeable specialists, helpful consumer products, and support for loved ones. This research project aims to bridge the gaps of understanding between patients and their families and medical professionals by observing common patient complaints and requests for advice on social media platforms. By coding these responses and looking for commonalities, manufacturers may also benefit by learning to create better products that serve the needs of chronically ill patients. Similar studies have been performed for other areas of research. Sutter et al. (2021) used Facebook and Reddit to code for food parenting posts. They categorized food parenting styles that were coercive, structured, or autonomy supportive. They found a correlation between food parenting styles and children's unhealthy eating habits and adiposity (Sutter et al., 2021). A social media study was conducted in Canada to determine social levels of hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccines (Rotolo et al., 2022). Most Canadian citizens have been vaccinated, and researchers believe that the results of this study can help guide educational attempts for unvaccinated citizens (Rotolo et al., 2022). Perry and Park (2021) performed a qualitative analysis of Twitter feeds to search for major themes of suicidality and found that while intrapersonal and interpersonal factors were amply expressed, about half of the tweets expressed suicidality when discussing social issues such as health and politics. This study will compare posts from Facebook and Reddit to search for commonly used keywords among patients in support groups for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). After posts are qualitatively coded, a statistical analysis will be performed. By discovering the most discussed support group topics, doctors, manufacturers, and loved ones can better understand the needs of patients with POTS.
University / Institution: Utah Valley University
Type: Oral
Format: In Person
SESSION D (3:30-5:00PM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Lisa Petot-Rincon
Location: Sill Center Conference Room (4:30pm)