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Social interactions in online eating disorder communities: a network perspective

Social interactions in online eating disorder communities: a network perspective
Social interactions in online eating disorder communities: a network perspective
Online health communities facilitate communication among people with health problems. Most prior studies focus on examining characteristics of these communities in sharing content, while limited work has explored social interactions between communities with different stances on a health problem. Here, we analyse a large communication network of individuals affected by eating disorders on Twitter and explore how communities of individuals with different stances on the disease interact online. Based on a large set of tweets posted by individuals who self-identify with eating disorders online, we establish the existence of two communities: a large community reinforcing disordered eating behaviours and a second, smaller community supporting efforts to recover from the disease. We find that individuals tend to mainly interact with others within the same community, with limited interactions across communities and inter-community interactions characterized by more negative emotions than intra-community interactions. Moreover, by studying the associations between individuals’ behavioural characteristics and interpersonal connections in the communication network, we present the first large-scale investigation of social norms in online health communities, particularly on how a community approves of individuals’ behaviours. Our findings shed new light on how people form online health communities and can have broad clinical implications on disease prevention and online intervention.
1932-6203
1-17
Wang, Tao
c728baeb-cc3f-4948-bf1a-8d63ed60ea74
Brede, Markus
bbd03865-8e0b-4372-b9d7-cd549631f3f7
Ianni, Antonella
35024f65-34cd-4e20-9b2a-554600d739f3
Mentzakis, Emmanouil
c0922185-18c7-49c2-a659-8ee6d89b5d74
Wang, Tao
c728baeb-cc3f-4948-bf1a-8d63ed60ea74
Brede, Markus
bbd03865-8e0b-4372-b9d7-cd549631f3f7
Ianni, Antonella
35024f65-34cd-4e20-9b2a-554600d739f3
Mentzakis, Emmanouil
c0922185-18c7-49c2-a659-8ee6d89b5d74

Wang, Tao, Brede, Markus, Ianni, Antonella and Mentzakis, Emmanouil (2018) Social interactions in online eating disorder communities: a network perspective. PLoS ONE, 1-17. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0200800).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Online health communities facilitate communication among people with health problems. Most prior studies focus on examining characteristics of these communities in sharing content, while limited work has explored social interactions between communities with different stances on a health problem. Here, we analyse a large communication network of individuals affected by eating disorders on Twitter and explore how communities of individuals with different stances on the disease interact online. Based on a large set of tweets posted by individuals who self-identify with eating disorders online, we establish the existence of two communities: a large community reinforcing disordered eating behaviours and a second, smaller community supporting efforts to recover from the disease. We find that individuals tend to mainly interact with others within the same community, with limited interactions across communities and inter-community interactions characterized by more negative emotions than intra-community interactions. Moreover, by studying the associations between individuals’ behavioural characteristics and interpersonal connections in the communication network, we present the first large-scale investigation of social norms in online health communities, particularly on how a community approves of individuals’ behaviours. Our findings shed new light on how people form online health communities and can have broad clinical implications on disease prevention and online intervention.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 3 July 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 July 2018
Published date: 30 July 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 422390
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/422390
ISSN: 1932-6203
PURE UUID: cd7a7547-ec58-4b43-83ab-8d2ee9ab6f8b
ORCID for Antonella Ianni: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5003-4482
ORCID for Emmanouil Mentzakis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1761-209X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 23 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 27 Oct 2018 04:01

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Contributors

Author: Tao Wang
Author: Markus Brede
Author: Antonella Ianni ORCID iD

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