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Facebook Groups on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Social Media Content Analysis

Department of Health Education and Promotion, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
STEM Translational Communication Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 679205, USA
Department of Behavioral and Community Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine, Greenville, NC 27858, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(20), 3789;
Received: 31 August 2019 / Revised: 2 October 2019 / Accepted: 4 October 2019 / Published: 9 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exploring the Role of Social Media in Health Promotion)
Facebook Groups facilitate information exchange and engagement for patients with chronic conditions, including those living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); however, little is known about how knowledge is diffused throughout these communities. This study aimed to evaluate the content that is available on COPD-related Facebook Groups, as well as the communication (self-disclosures, social support) and engagement (agreement, emotional reaction) strategies used by members to facilitate these resources. Two researchers independently searched the “Groups” category using the terms “COPD”, “emphysema”, and “chronic bronchitis”. Twenty-six closed (n = 23) and public (n = 3) COPD Facebook Groups were identified with 87,082 total members. The vast majority of Group members belonged to closed (n = 84,684; 97.25%) as compared to open (n = 2398; 2.75%) groups. Medications were the most commonly addressed self-management topic (n = 48; 26.7%). While overall engagement with wall posts was low, the number of “likes” (an indicator of agreement) was significantly greater for wall posts that demonstrated social support as compared to posts that did not (p < 0.001). Findings from this study showed that COPD Facebook group members share specific disease-related experiences and request information about select self-management topics. This information can be used to improve the quality of self-management support provided to members of popular COPD Facebook groups. View Full-Text
Keywords: COPD; Facebook; social media; online community; self-management; social support COPD; Facebook; social media; online community; self-management; social support
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Apperson, A.; Stellefson, M.; Paige, S.R.; Chaney, B.H.; Chaney, J.D.; Wang, M.Q.; Mohan, A. Facebook Groups on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Social Media Content Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3789.

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