Date of Award
Master of Arts in Communication Studies
This study examined the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health through the lens of social media. This study content analyzed user posts related to depression on Twitter during 2019 and 2020 to determine if there was an increase in tweets about depression due to the pandemic. A total of 2,000 tweets were randomly selected using the keyword or hashtag “depressed” and “depression”. A sample of 1,000 tweets from April 18 to December 31, 2019, and another sample of 1,000 tweets from April 18 to December 31, 2020, were analyzed. Using the Uses and Gratifications Theory as a framework, the tweets were classified into three themes: factual information, an emotional outlet, and social support.
The results showed no significant increase in depression tweets during the pandemic. Specifically, there was a higher number of tweets overall for both the keyword or hashtag “depressed” and “depression” in 2019 compared to 2020, but the analysis of the tweets reflected a minimal difference between the two years. For the factual information theme, there were fourteen more tweets in 2019 versus 2020. In 2020, there were seven more tweets categorized in the emotional outlet theme compared to 2019, and only two additional tweets for the social support theme. The analysis of this study also revealed ten subthemes, which allowed for further insight into the conversation of depression on Twitter during the pandemic.
Swanberg, Jamie Vittoria, "Unmasking Covid-19: The Pandemics Effect on Mental Health Through the Lens of Social Media" (2022). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 2264.
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