Life and death in the mental-health blogosphere: An analysis of blog content and survival

Edward Alan Miller, Antoinette Pole, Bukola Usidame

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe a sample of mental-health blogs, to determine the proportion of sampled blogs still posting several years after identification, and to identify the correlates of survival. One hundred eighty-eight mental-health blogs were identified in 2007-08 and revisited in 2014. Eligible blogs were U.S.-based, in English, and active. Baseline characteristics and survival status were described and variation based on blog focus and survival examined. Mental-health bloggers tended to be females blogging as patients and caregivers focusing on specific mental illnesses/conditions. The proportion of blogs still active at follow-up ranged from 25.5 percent to 30.3 percent depending on the definition of survival employed. Factors associated with survival included sponsorship/advertising and assumption of a professional/caregiving rather than patient/consumer perspective. Because professionally authored blogs with sponsorship/advertising tend to be longer lived, they may have disproportionate impact on the help-seeking behavior of individuals referred to them by search engine results. This suggests the need to promulgate and adhere to rules governing disclosure of real or perceived conflicts of interest, particularly given the growing use of industry paid/driven content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-82
Number of pages24
JournalWorld Medical and Health Policy
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2015

Keywords

  • Internet
  • blogs
  • e-health

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