Online Program

Depressed on Pinterest: How Pinterest users respond to pins about depression in the light of social support and coping

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jeanine Guidry, M.S., M.P.S., Department of Health Behavior and Policy, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Yan Jin, Ph.D., Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Yuan Zhang, Ph.D., Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Background: Worldwide, more than 350 million adults are living with depression. While many studies have been done to figure out how depression is framed in traditional media, and while there has been some indication that Facebook and other social media use provides a level of social support, little is known about what people express about depression on newer social media platforms like Pinterest. Given the role the Internet and specifically social media play in providing health-related communication, and the fact that limited research has been done to address this area, this study focuses on the social media platform Pinterest and analyzed depression-related pins and the comments they received.

Method: In a qualitative and quantitative content analysis, a random sample of 800 depression-related pins and their comments are analyzed, focusing specifically on the type of information included, and the frequency of reposts and favorites on these posts. Further analyses on the public’s engagement through this platform are based on the theories of social support and coping.

Results: The study is currently ongoing and will be completed by February 28, 2014. It will provide an analysis focusing on how users respond to depression-related posts on Pinterest and providing insight into how health communicators can listen to patients-generated depression content, emotional expression, and voices and conversations about social support.

Conclusions: These insights will help guide the development of more effective depression treatment and support message development by integrating timely and accurate medical and health information to audiences in need.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Assess the role social media platforms play in health information creation and dissemination, in the context of how depression-related messages and their comments, in the form of text, image and videos, are created and shared by users on Pinterest. Analyze the themes of depression messages embedded in pins and their comments, their tonality, health-related sentiments, coping needs, social support expressions, and the presence of any intervention or response from health organizations. Both content (e.g., frames and attribution) and structure (e.g., photos, infographics and video) of the depression-pins and comments will be examined as potential predictors or influencers of health topic engagement on Pinterest.

Keyword(s): Depression, Social Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral student in Social and Behavioral Health at the Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as an affiliate graduate researcher with VCU’s Center for Media+Health. I have taken extensive coursework in content analysis methodology and social media research. Together with my co-authors I have published prior research and have presented at conferences on issues pertaining to social media, health communications, and specifically related to Pinterest and depression as a public health concern.
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.