Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/26976
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Social media as a space for support: Young adults’ perspectives on producing and consuming user-generated content about diabetes and mental health
Author(s): Fergie, Gillian
Hunt, Kathryn
Hilton, Shona
Keywords: UK
E-health
Social media
Diabetes
Mental health
Health experiences
Social support
Issue Date: Dec-2016
Citation: Fergie G, Hunt K & Hilton S (2016) Social media as a space for support: Young adults’ perspectives on producing and consuming user-generated content about diabetes and mental health, Social Science and Medicine, 170, pp. 46-54.
Abstract: Social media offer opportunities to both produce and consume content related to health experiences. However, people's social media practices are likely to be influenced by a range of individual, social and environmental factors. The aim of this qualitative study was to explore how engagement with user-generated content can support people with long-term health conditions, and what limits users’ adoption of these technologies in the everyday experience of their health condition. Forty semi-structured interviews were conducted with young adults, aged between 18 and 30 years, with experience of diabetes or a common mental health disorder (CMHD). We found that the online activities of these young adults were diverse; they ranged from regular production and consumption (‘prosumption’) of health-related user-generated content to no engagement with such content. Our analysis suggested three main types of users: ‘prosumers’ ‘tacit consumers’ and ‘non-engagers’. A key determinant of participants’ engagement with resources related to diabetes and CMHDs in the online environment was their offline experiences of support. Barriers to young adults’ participation in online interaction, and sharing of content related to their health experiences, included concerns about compromising their presentation of identity and adherence to conventions about what content is most appropriate for specific social media spaces. Based on our analysis, we suggest that social media do not provide an unproblematic environment for engagement with health content and the generation of supportive networks. Rather, producing and consuming user-generated content is an activity embedded within individuals’ specific health experiences and is impacted by offline contexts, as well as their daily engagement with, and expectations, of different social media platforms. © 2016 The Authors
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.10.006
Rights: © 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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