Lived experience in bipolar disorder: a corpus-based study of Reddit social media posts

Glorianna Jagfeld

Spectrum Centre for Mental Health Research, Lancaster University

Bipolar disorder is a severe mental health problem characterised by recurring episodes of depressed and elevated mood. About 1.5-2% of the European population are estimated to meet diagnostic criteria during their lifetime. Complementary to clinical recovery, mainly concerned with symptom reduction and restoration of functioning, personal recovery is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful life even with limitations caused by mental health issues. Since bipolar disorder symptoms often persist despite adequate treatment, this concept might be of importance.

Social media posts can serve as alternative data source to study health beliefs and experiences, mitigating the questionnaire or interviewer bias that may occur in traditional health research methods. In my PhD project I'm aiming to shed more light on the experience of personal recovery in bipolar disorder via corpus and computational linguistic analyses of social media posts.

This talk will cover the following:

1) How I constructed a large dataset of 24M public posts on the social media platform Reddit by 20K people with a self-reported bipolar disorder diagnosis.

2) What demographic information about the people in the dataset I could automatically infer or extract from their posts.

3) First analyses of a corpus of posts in bipolar disorder-related subforums constructed from the full dataset. Particularly, I'll describe salient topics in the corpus that emerged from a key semantic domain analysis with the UCREL Semantic Analysis System (USAS).

4) Ideas for further analyses whose results I can relate to findings of previous qualitative research on personal recovery in bipolar disorder.

Since this is work in progress, I'm very much looking forward to your comments and suggestions.

Week 26 2019/2020

Thursday 28th May 2020

Online: join mailing list or contact organisers to receive link