Online Program

Social Media Use and Community Participation among Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Eugene Brusilovskiy, MUSA, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Temple University, PHILADELPHIA, PA
Greg Townley, PhD, Community Psychology, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Mark Salzer, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Gretchen Snethen, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Introduction: Little research exists on social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) use among individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, whether and how online social media use is associated with these individuals’ community participation – which numerous studies have shown to be related to positive health outcomes – has not been studied. Methods: 149 Individuals with psychiatric disabilities receiving services at ten community mental health centers throughout the continental USA have completed questionnaires on their community participation and social media use. Specifically, they were asked which social media sites they used; the duration, frequency and importance of, and reasons for, social media use; and the number of contacts they had on social media. Independent samples t-tests were carried out to examine whether individuals who use social media at least weekly have higher community participation than those without social media accounts or those who use them less frequently.  Results: With data collection ongoing until May 2015, preliminary results show that 46 of the 149 individuals (30.9%) have at least one social media account, and 43 or 46 (93.5%) use it at least weekly, mostly for social and recreational purposes.  Most individuals who use social media consider it important. Furthermore, individuals who use social media at least weekly reported significantly greater community participation than those who used social media less frequently or not at all. Implications: Greater use of social media seems to be positively associated with community participation. Future research will examine how social media use relates to other health outcomes, and will explore the possible role of social media in intervention research.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate that social media use is associated with greater community participation among individuals with disabilities.

Keyword(s): Social Media, Disabilities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been PI on several federally funded grants focusing on factors associated with community participation of individuals with psychiatric disabilities. I have authored multiple papers and numerous presentations on related topics.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.